Nutrition and cancer risk: An overview

Esteve Fernández, Silvano Gallus, Carlo La Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The role of diet in cancer is a major public health issue. Foods associated with a low risk of cancer are those typically included in the so-called Mediterranean diet, which is also associated with low mortality rates from cardiovascular disease. Implementing such a diet would involve increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables, cereals, whole-grain foods and fish, while reducing the intake of refined carbohydrates and red meat. In addition, olive oil should replace saturated fats. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish inhibit the growth in vitro of colon, breast and prostate cancers. Fibre can bind bile acids, which produce carcinogenic metabolites, and fermented fibre produces volatile fatty acids that can protect against colon cancer. It has been hypothesized that the anti-cancer actions of olive oil may relate to the ability of its mono-unsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, to regulate oncogenes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-142
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the British Menopause Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • Cancer
  • Diet
  • Fat
  • Fibre
  • Fish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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