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A healthy diet alone will not cure cancer

CLAIM: Cancer can be cured by eating a healthy diet.

FALSE. A healthy diet alone cannot cure cancer.

Having a healthy diet is important for many reasons.

A healthy diet is important for good health and reducing the risk of cancer and other diseases. Maintaining a healthy diet and weight help keep the whole body working well. That includes being able to repair the types of cell damage and metabolic changes that could potentially lead to cancer.


A healthy diet cannot treat cancer.

However, no evidence shows that specific diets or individual foods can help treat or cure an existing cancer.

The nonprofit World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) collects up-to-date cancer research results from around the world. In 2018, it put out its third expert report on the links amoung diet, nutrition, physical activity, and cancer risk.

While a healthy diet cannot treat cancer, the expert report recommends dietary and lifestyle choices to help prevent cancer, including:

  • Eat a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans
  • Limit processed and sugary foods, red meat, and alcohol
  • Avoid the use of dietary supplements

Once cancer develops, the WCRF/AICR report concludes that there is not enough evidence to say if specific foods or diets can help treat cancer. More studies are needed to test possible diet-based treatments for patients with cancer.

Tips on choosing a healthy diet can be found in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.