Cancer is the second leading cause of death. The most common are breast, colon, prostate and lung. Diet is a factor in the emergence and development of this disease.
Cancer is almost always the result of several factors, including diet, whose role is becoming better known. Foods can promote the development of cancer in several ways: toxicity of certain food contaminants, possible carcinogenic role of certain food additives and especially composition of the diet with the presence too high or too low in certain nutrients.
Contamination by a fungus
An example of food contamination by a substance in the liver cancer risk is the presence of aflatoxin: this fungus can persist in some peanuts and cereals in tropical climates and is monitored extremely rigorous.
Fertilizers and hormones
The misuse of nitrogen fertilizers, such as nitrates, and their presence in water may also increase the risk of cancer, which is why the controls nitrate content of drinking water are highly regulated.
Estrogen hormones used to accelerate the growth of calves and found in meat are suspected to promote cancer of the genital tract of women. As a precaution, the European Union banned the use of all growth hormones in livestock. Food additives such as nitrites and certain dyes or sweeteners are carcinogenic in animals and therefore at risk to humans. Their use in the food industry is very controlled.
Foods, nutrients and cancer: what we know
For 20 years, the links between food consumption and cancers are the subject of a great deal of interest from researchers and the general public. However, the relationship between cause and effect such as food and cancer are still all clear. The extensive epidemiological studies in several countries should provide new evidence in the coming years. Nenamoins much knowledge about the role of certain foods are already available.