If you have an interest in the link between diet and cancer, it helps to
understand how we have come to learn what we know today, and how to
interpret what we’ll learn in the future.
Over the years, researchers have conducted thousands of studies of many
different types. It’s not the latest or most talked-about study that matters,
but what all of the research collectively indicates. WCRF UK’s advice is
always based on the research as a whole, never on one single study, so
the public can be confident in our message.
In preparing the landmark WCRF/AICR second expert report,
Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global
Perspective, to be published in November 2007, thousands of studies
from many different sources were evaluated in detail by a group of
independent international researchers, who made up our expert Panel.
This brochure explains the different kinds of scientific investigation they
examined and notes the strengths and weaknesses of each type. It will
give you a better understanding of the range of research included in
the second expert report and how the Panel went about preparing the
most comprehensive scientific assessment of the diet-cancer link ever
Scientific studies provide clues
The diet-cancer mystery
It sounds like a simple question: can what we eat influence our risk
of cancer? In fact, finding the answer is a complex puzzle worthy of
Do you eat exactly the same thing every day? Probably not. Most people’s
diets are complex, and they change over weeks, months and years. To
pinpoint associations between diet and cancer, researchers must analyse
this mass of information to isolate the specific effects of individual foods,
or their constituents such as nutrients, vitamins and minerals, as well as
combinations of foods – dietary patterns.
Each scientific study provides another clue to the evolving mystery of how
diet affects cancer. But as wit