Ask the Doctor
October 8, 2013

Can food we eat give us cancer?

Dear Doc,

We seem to be having a significant increase in the number of cancer diagnoses. Is it because of the food we are eating? If not, what is it because of?{{more}}


Dear Jeremy,

This is difficult to prove, though many hold the notion that our modern diet is a significant link. A recent study in the UK could not find significant differences in cancer rates between the regular population and a group of persons whose diet was comprised of “healthy” fruits and vegetables mainly.

There are many factors to consider when discussing cancers and indeed it might be too many. It is close to impossible to investigate whether a single item has more than another when the association is so complex. It is like blaming your husband when your child used an obscene word, when that word is used in the presence of the child by multiple persons in the household and community in ear-shot of the child. You might blame your husband based on the fact that he is the child’s mentor, but that does not guarantee that he has the greatest influence.

The increase in cancer diagnosis can be due to longer life of people, larger population, efficient diagnosis, environmental changes and many more.

There might be more diagnoses of cancers, but what we have to do is not look for a single cause for cancer, but we must make multiple changes that include behavioural, diet and increase our surveillance and preventative methods.


SVG Cancer Society,

P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.