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Food Choices - The Science

By building healthy eating habits and limiting unhealthy food, you can decrease your risk for cancer.

Food choices - facts
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you keep a healthy body weight.
  • For the things you can do to prevent cancer, your weight is second most important (being a non-smoker is #1).
  • What you eat is very important in protecting you from cancer.
    • Foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and foods high in fibre can reduce the risk of cancer.
    • Some foods, such as processed and red meat and salt-preserved foods can increase the risk of developing cancer. Processed meat is deli meats, bacon and hot dogs.
  • Strong evidence shows that eating lots of processed and red meat can increase the risk of bowel cancer, and possibly stomach and pancreatic cancer.

Did you know that ...

  • You can use just your hands to measure portion sizes (more info below).
  • If you don't use tobacco, the most important cancer risk factors that can be changed are body weight, diet and physical activity.
  • If you have good eating habits (portion size and nutrition are both important) and are physically active, your body weight will be easier to manage.
  • Teaching kids to eat nutritious food builds long-term healthy habits they can use when they are adults.

What types of cancers are linked to unhealthy food choices?

Unhealthy food choices can increase your chances of developing the following cancers:

  • Bowel (key words: colon, rectum, large intestine, colorectal)
  • Lung
  • Breast
  • Pancreatic
  • Bladder
  • Esophageal
  • Stomach
  • Head and neck
  • Liver
  • Ovarian 


Here are some BC statistics (2015 data*) on the number of new diagnoses (male and female) for cancers that were likely caused by unhealthy food choices:

  • Bowel: 554
    (key words: colon, rectum, large intestine, colorectal)
  • Lung: 497
  • Breast: 190
  • Pancreas: 161
  • Bladder: 93
  • Esophagus: 60
  • Stomach: 42
  • Head and neck: 61
  • Liver: 19
  • Ovaries: 7
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SOURCE: Food Choices - The Science ( )
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