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By Cancer Site

Evidence shows that our risk for many types of cancer is related to diet, physical activity and weight. But for some types, it is not yet possible to determine if lifestyle plays a role. This does not mean such links are impossible, simply that more research is needed.

The AICR/WCRF Expert Report and Continuous Update Project examines the evidence linking various lifestyle factors to cancers at 17 different body sites using a rigorous and objective process called Systematic Literature Reviews (SLRs).

Strong Evidence of Lifestyle Link

For 12 of these cancers, strong evidence emerged that diet, weight and physical activity can raise or lower risk. They are:

No Strong Evidence of a Lifestyle Link

The expert panel also examined the available evidence for five other cancers using the same exacting SLR method. The results are as follows*:

  • Cervical Cancer
    The expert panel concluded that there is as yet no strong evidence that any aspect of diet, physical activity and weight influences the risk of cervical cancer.
  • Bladder Cancer
    The expert panel concluded that there is as yet no strong evidence that any aspect of diet, physical activity and weight influences the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Skin Cancer
    That skin cancer is directly caused by excessive sun exposure is well-established. The expert panel specifically examined the evidence linking skin cancer to aspects of diet, weight and physical activity. No strong evidence emerged, with the exception of arsenic in drinking water, for which a probable link to skin cancer was found.
  • Nasopharyngeal Cancer
    This cancer is rare in the United States but common in Southern China. The panel, which examined the global evidence, concluded that consumption of Cantonese-style salted fish is probably a cause of this cancer.

Other Cancers

For the following cancers, evidence was too limited to examine using SLRs. For this reason, the Panel did not issue conclusions about them, but flagged the need for further research on possible lifestyle links*.

  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s)
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Cancers of the Musculoskelatal System (Liposarcoma, fibrosarcoma, osteosarcoma, myosarcoma)
  • Cancers of the Nervous system (Glioblastoma, meningoma, sellar tumor, cranial tumor, spinal nerve tumor, central nervous system lymphoma)

*NOTE: Although there is currently insufficient evidence to definitively determine if these cancers are related to diet, weight and physical activity, AICR funds innovative research involving these cancers that seeks to find and map such links.

colon and intestines in situ 

 

What the Panel’s Judgments Mean

Convincing
strong, consistent and unlikely to change in the future

Probable
compelling but not quite strong or consistent enough to be "convincing"

Limited Evidence – Suggestive
too limited for a grade of "probable", but a general consistency in the data

Limited Evidence – No Conclusion
too inconsistent or insufficient for a definitive grade

Substantial Effect on Risk Unlikely
enough evidence to rule out a connection

Published on March 11, 2014

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