Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Sugar and cancer

sugar-and-cancerSugar feeds cancer.  The affinity of cancerous tissue for sugar (glucose) is well known. 
A study that monitored the diets of 80,000 healthy women and men from 1997 to 2005, found that the risk of developing pancreatic cancer is related to the amount of sugar in the diet. 131 people in the study eventually developed cancer of the pancreas.  Most at risk were those who drank high quantities of fizzy or syrup-based (squash) drinks.
  •  The group who said that they drank such products twice a day or more ran a 90% higher risk than those who never drank them.
  •  People who added sugar to food or drinks (eg: coffee) at least 5 times a day ran a 70% greater risk than those who did not.
  •  People who ate creamed fruit (a product resembling runny jam) at least once a day also ran a higher risk — they developed the disease 50% more often than those who never ate creamed fruit.
  •  A Swedish study in the March 2007 edition of Diabetes Care, shows that women with high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) may be more likely to develop cancer, even if they don’t have diabetes. The study, by researchers from Sweden’s Umea University Hospital, also found that both men and women with the highest blood sugar levels were more likely to have pancreatic cancer, urinary tract cancer, and malignant melanoma (the most deadly type of skin cancer) than those with the lowest blood sugar levels.
  •  Women with the highest blood sugar levels upon joining the study were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer before its end.
  •  Cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer) was more common in women with the highest blood sugar levels.
  •  Breast cancer was more common for women younger than 49 with high blood sugar levels.

How many affected:
 

According to the American Cancer Society’s projections, more than 12 million new cases of cancer would have been diagnosed around the world in 2007 and 20,000 people a day, or 7.6 million people, would have died from the disease.

Its report, “Global Cancer Facts and Figures”, says that some 5.4 million cancer cases and 2.9 million deaths would have occurred in industrialised countries. In developing nations, some 6.7 million cancer cases and 4.7 million deaths would have taken place, with lung, stomach and liver cancer being most prevalent in men, and women suffering most from breast, uterine and stomach cancer.

In Malaysia, every year at least 40,000 people get cancer, and this is only a conservative figure (NST, 22.11.05).  1 in 4 Malaysians can be expected to get cancer in his or her lifetime (Malaysian National Cancer Registry, 2002).

Find out more about sugar and diseases in the CAP Guide How Sugar Destroys Your Health