Do some foods prevent or cure cancer?

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The claim

Certain foods can prevent or cure cancer.
Various raw foods

The truth

There is no miracle food that can prevent or cure cancer, but your overall diet can affect your cancer risk. About 1 in 5 cancer cases can be prevented by eating well, being active and maintaining a healthy body weight.

In the past, researchers studied specific food components that they thought protected against cancer, such as antioxidants. But scientists are now taking a broader approach by looking at healthy eating patterns in relation to cancer prevention. Understanding the links between diet and cancer is difficult because we consume thousands of dietary components every day.

Eating a balanced diet can help you get to and stay at a healthy body weight, which reduces your risk of cancer. Certain types of food – not certain foods – reduce or increase the risk of cancer. For example, eating processed meat increases your risk of colorectal cancer. On the other hand, eating a variety of vegetables, fruit and other high-fibre foods helps reduce your risk of cancer.

The Canadian Cancer Society is committed to sharing important information about cancer risk to Canadians and will continue to monitor research in this area.

Learn more about eating well and having a healthy body weight to reduce your risk of cancer.