One of the most common questions we get here at AICR is about sugar. And it can be confusing. The overall body of evidence suggests that sugar’s link to cancer risk is an indirect one: diets high in sugar can lead to obesity, and excess body fat is a cause of ten different cancers.
But now comes a study performed in mice that is getting a lot of media attention. It suggests a more direct link between sugar consumption and breast cancer development. Published in Cancer Research, the study is interesting, says AICR Vice President of Research Susan Higginbotham, PhD, RD, “but it’s important to recognize, that this is a single study and it is testing diets in mice, not in people.”
“Our reports, which have reviewed thousands of studies on diet and cancer, have found no evidence that sugar or added sugar directly causes cancer in humans. “We recommend limiting energy-dense foods and avoiding sugary drinks, but current evidence suggests it is not necessary to avoid sugar altogether.”
The animal study
In this animal study, researchers fed groups of mice diets with increasing amounts of the sugar sucrose – your basic white table sugar – and compared them to mice fed a sugar-free starch-based diet. These mice all were carrying breast cancer cells. Continue reading
Bad diet, inactivity, smoking and drinking alcohol – all are among the causes of up to 90 percent of cancers, according to a new analysis that stresses how many cases of cancer are under our control.
This paper, published in Nature, is in stark opposition to the paper out earlier this year. Published in Science, that paper found that the majority of cancer cases were caused by “bad luck,” our cells going awry without much people could do to control them. At that time, we pointed out some key flaws with their analysis.
This study used the same premise and a lot of the same data as the Science article to reach a different conclusion: lifestyle makes a difference when it comes to cancer risk.
Here at AICR, where we focus on how diet, physical activity and body fat link to cancer, a wide and consistent body of evidence shows that these factors make a difference. One third of the most common cancers can be prevented with diet, staying lean, and being active.
Low and middle income countries are now facing rising numbers of breast, colorectal and other common cancers, finds a new study, due in part to increases in obesity, inactivity and smoking around the world. The United States and other high-income countries continue to have the highest cancer rates, but rates have stabilized here.
Today, 1 in 3 premature deaths of all noncommunicable diseases are from cancer.
The study, published today in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, shows a disturbing trend around the world, where many countries have adopted a lifestyle once attributed primarily to the US and other Western countries. AICR estimates that here in the US, about one-third of cancers are preventable if everyone was to be a healthy weight, be active and eat a healthy diet.
Using estimates from the International Agency for Cancer Research and other registries, the study pulled together incidence and mortality for several common cancers around the world. Among the findings described are:
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death among women worldwide. Incidence increased by about 30 percent in western countries between 1980 and the late 1990s, then these slowed or plateaued since the early 2000s. In Brazil, Uganda and other low to middle-income countries, rates of this cancer continue to increase. The causes of these increases are not completely understood. Continue reading