Nutrition & Diet for Healthy Lifestyles in Europe

Cancer prevention and diet: opportunities in Europe 

 Elio Riboli* and Teresa Norat 

Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 cours Albert-Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France

Short Title: Cancer Prevention and Diet

Keywords : Diet, cancer prevention, epidemiology


   Over the past 20 years, a large number of epidemiological studies, particularly case-control and cohort studies, have been conducted to investigate the role of diet and the risk of developing different types of cancer. The most consistent finding so far is the association observed between consumption of vegetables and fruit and reduced risk of cancers of the digestive and respiratory tracts. More recently, evidence has accumulated indicating that high consumption of red meat (mainly beef, lamb and pork) and of preserved meat (“charcuterie”) is specifically associated with a modest but significant increase in colorectal cancer risk. Finally, there is epidemiological evidence supporting an association between the risk of developing gastric cancer and the intake of salt and salt-preserved foods.
Cancer incidence and dietary habits vary substantially across Europe, and the expected benefit of dietary changes may be somewhat different in different populations. Despite some uncertainty, it is generally agreed that an increase in the consumption of vegetables and fruits and a decrease in the intake of red meat, processed meat, alcoholic beverages, salt and salt-preserved foods should contribute to a reduction in the incidence of cancers of the digestive and respiratory tract.


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