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WCRF responds to study suggesting that 5 A Day only has a modest effect on cancer risk

7 April 2010

World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has responded to media stories surrounding the study that suggests eating Fruits and Vegetables does little to help people avoid cancer.

Dr Rachel Thompson, Science Programme Manager for World Cancer Research Fund, said: “This study suggests that if we all ate an extra two portions of fruits and vegetables a day, about 2.5 per cent of cancers could be prevented.

“Given the fact that there are many types of cancer where there is no evidence eating fruits and vegetables affects risk, it is not surprising that the overall percentage is quite low. But for the UK, this works out as about 7,000 cases a year, which is a significant number.

“If you look at specific types of cancer, including mouth, pharynx and larynx, stomach and oesophagus, the evidence shows that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables probably reduces risk.

“Even if fruits and vegetables did not directly reduce risk, it would still be a good idea to eat them because people who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables are less likely to become overweight. Scientists now say that, after not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do for cancer prevention.”

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About WCRF

World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) raises awareness that cancer is largely preventable and helps people make choices to reduce their chances of developing the disease.

This includes research into how cancer risk is related to diet, physical activity, and weight management, and education programmes that highlight the fact that about a third of cancers could be prevented through changes to lifestyle. For more information on the charity’s work, visit

The WCRF report, called Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective, was launched in November 2007 and is the most comprehensive report ever published on the link between cancer and lifestyle. For more information, visit


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