Study finds thousands of cancer cases linked to these 7 dietary factors

Roughly 5.2% of all invasive newly diagnosed cancer cases in American adults in 2015 were correlated with dietary factors.

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According to a new study published in JNCI Cancer Spectrum roughly 80,110 new cancer cases in adults 20 years of age and older in the US,  can be linked to poor diets.

“Low whole-grain consumption was associated with the largest cancer burden in the US, followed by low dairy intake, high processed-meat intake, low vegetable and fruit intake, high red meat intake and high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages,” Dr. Fang Fang Zhang, nutritionist and cancer epidemiologist at Tufts University in Boston, and the first author of the study told CNN.


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The 7 poor dietary habits surging cancer rates

The foremost cancer cases linked to diet are as follows:

  • Colorectal Cancer: 52,225
  • Cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx: 14,421
  • Uterine Cancer:  3,165
  • Breast Cancer: 3,059
  • Kidney Cancer: 2,017
  • Stomach Cancer: 1,564
  • Liver Cancer: 1,000

This means roughly 5.2% of all invasive newly diagnosed cancer cases in American adults in 2015 were correlated with dietary factors. These cases were associated with overconsumption of certain foods and sweetened beverages, as well as low intake of important nutrients and minerals, namely low whole grain intake, low dairy intake,  high processed meats intake, low vegetable intake, low fruit intake, high red meat intake, high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages.

The researchers behind the study determined these predictors by using a Comparative Risk Assesment model that included dietary intake data, national cancer incidence, and estimated correlations of diet and cancer risks from meta-analyses of cohort studies conducted in the past. They were able to estimate new cancer cases caused by suboptimal intakes of seven dietary factors among US adults ages 20+ years, and by population subgroups. Men ages 45 to 64 years old, blacks and Hispanics had the highest portion of diet-associated cancer burden compared to the other groups featured in the cohort study analysis.

Processed and red meats contain molecules that have been studied to promote cancer, in addition to being rich in fat and cholesterol. American meat consumption hit an all-time high last year. According to the U.S  Department of Agriculture, the average consumer will eat 222.2 pounds of meat and poultry this year. Conversely, many Americans are not getting a sufficient amount of fiber. Ninety-five percent of Americans are falling short of the recommended daily value fiber: 25 grams for women, 38 grams for men.

Cancer costs us $80 billion in healthcare expenses and claims the lives of one in four people every year. The importance of data that inmates new and manageable ways of decreasing our associative risk of coming into paths with the second leading cause of death in the world cannot be overstated. Thousands of types of cancer can be prevented by correcting the seven poor diet habits mentioned above.

Popular Science reports, “Statistically, across an entire population, many tens of thousands of fewer people would get cancer if everyone ate a healthy, balanced diet. And while cutting down on sugar and upping fiber intake isn’t a magical cancer prevention method, good nutrition definitely won’t do you any harm.”


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CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.