New study shows dietary cholesterol intake increases bladder cancer risk

Research from World Cancer Research Fund shows that cholesterol can increase the risk of bladder cancer in men

20 July 2022

Leading cancer prevention and survival charity, World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) today highlights research showing an association between greater cholesterol and animal fat intake, and an increased risk of bladder cancer in men.

The study, which focussed on the link between eating foods high in cholesterol, such as animal fat, and bladder cancer risk, drew from a large sample size of over 540,000 people from 11 different countries. Participants filled in a questionnaire, and their intake of fats and oils were calculated in grams per day per 1000 kcal.

The results of the study showed that higher intakes of dietary cholesterol and animal fat increased the risk of bladder cancer in men. For women, consuming monounsaturated fatty acids and plant-based oils decreased the risk of developing bladder cancer.

Dr Panagiota Mitrou, Director of Research and Innovation at World Cancer Research Fund, said:

We already know some of the risk factors for bladder cancer, which causes over 200,000 deaths worldwide, including gender, smoking, age and occupation. What’s new about this research is that it provides an insight into the role of fats and oils in the development of bladder cancer. In the future, we could see tailored dietary advice for bladder cancer prevention.

Dr Anke Wesselius, Principal Investigator, said:

How fats and oils affect the development of bladder cancer hasn’t yet been fully explored, though saturated fats play a big part in many Western diets. These findings suggest that the quality of fat consumed has an impact on the likelihood of developing bladder cancer, and men could see a benefit in reducing levels of animal fats in their diets.

Saturated fat, high cholesterol and cancer risk

High cholesterol is mainly caused by eating large amounts of food that contain saturated fat, such as meat pies, sausages and red meat, as well as not exercising enough and being overweight. The risk of other cancers could also be reduced by cutting down on eating foods containing saturated fat.

World Cancer Research Fund’s Cancer Health Check helps people to see if their daily habits are increasing their risk of cancer.

Bladder cancer is the 10th most common cancer worldwide. It is the 6th most common cancer in men and the 17th most common cancer in women.

There were around 573,000 new cases of bladder cancer in 2020.


About the research

This is the first pooled cohort study on the associations between different types and sources of fat and oils and bladder cancer risk.

World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is part of a network of charities based in the UK, EU and US. This particular study was funded by WCRF and Wereld Kanker Onderzoek Fonds (WKOF).

For a copy of the research paper and media enquiries contact Diana Mackie, Communications Manager at WCRF at / 07717 131883

About World Cancer Research Fund

WCRF is the UK’s only charity solely dedicated to cancer prevention and survival. Over the last 30 years, WCRF has worked tirelessly to understand the links between a person’s weight, diet, and physical activity levels and their cancer risk. and Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.

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