printable article

Originally published July 21 2009

New Study Shows Vegetarians Less Likely to Develop Cancer

by Ingela Johansson

(NaturalNews) In a fresh study of food habits and cancer, 61,566 British meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians were followed by scientists for 12 years. The study showed that vegetarians have a smaller risk of developing cancer compared to their meat eating counterparts.

"This is strong evidence that vegetarians have lower rates of cancer than meat eaters" said co-author of the study, Dr Naomi Allen.

The study included people between 20 and 89 years old. Nearly half of the participants were vegetarians. The researchers took into account many different variables such as lifestyle, age, body mass index, alcohol intake, contraceptive use in women, smoking, and physical activity. The results of the study were adjusted accordingly after these variables. This is the largest report so far on food habits and cancer and is part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Of the British population today, one out of three persons develops cancer in their lifetime, and according to this research more than 2 million people could avoid cancer by changing their diets. The overall risk for cancer was decreased by 12 % in vegetarians compared to the meat eaters. There was an even bigger difference in some cancers, like stomach, bladder and leukemia, where vegetarians were affected up to 45 percent less. The biggest difference was the risk of a quite rare cancer of the bone marrow, multiple myeloma, where the vegetarians had a decreased risk of 75 percent. The vegetarians did not have a reduced risk in all cancers though; breast and prostate cancer were at about the same rate as for carnivores, and the risk for cancer in the bowel was slightly higher.

As for the fish eaters (those who ate fish but no other meat), they actually had the lowest rate of cancer, 18 percent lower than meat eaters. But they were also the smallest group in the study and possibly a less trustworthy statistic.

The director of health information at Cancer Research UK, Sara Hiom, said: "These interesting results add to the evidence that what we eat affects our chances of developing cancer. But the links between diet and cancer risk are complex and more research is needed to see how big a part diet plays and which specific dietary factors are most important."

"The relatively low number of vegetarians who developed cancer in this study supports Cancer Research UK's advice that people should eat a healthy, balanced diet high in fibre, fruit and vegetables and low in saturated fat, salt and red and processed meat."


About the author

Ingela loves to learn about natural health. She also likes to write about natural muscle building, natural skin care, and anti aging.

All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing LLC takes sole responsibility for all content. Truth Publishing sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. For the full terms of usage of this material, visit