Does Sugar Cause Cancer?


Being diagnosed with cancer is a life changing event. In an instant everything changes. But should your diet? It is commonly circulated in the media that sugar causes cancer or feeds and encourages cancer to grow and metastasis. People are routinely encouraged by friends and family and sometimes even by doctors to completely cut sugar out of their diet. The question is why? This misconception is based on the use of a PET, positron emission tomography, which is a scan for cancer staging. A PET scan uses a radioactive tracer in glucose to show cancer activity in the body. All cells in your body use sugar for energy and cancer cells aren’t any different.

Although sugar can’t cause cancer directly, a poor diet high in sugar can lead to obesity which puts you at a greater risk for cancer. Obesity is linked to colorectal, pancreatic, breast, kidney and endometrial cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for prevention of cancer.

What should you NOT do? People commonly quit eating processed white sugar and replace it with artificial sugars. Artificial sugars are known to cause cancer in animal studies and are not a healthy replacement for sugar. If you choose to replace refined sugar try honey, agave nectar or molasses which are natural sugars and full of antioxidants. Try replacing a cookie or sugary snack with fresh fruit for a sugar fix. A healthy, well balanced diet is ideal for all patients battling cancer and those trying to prevent cancer, but cutting sugar out altogether is just not necessary.

The doctors at The Woman’s Clinic want you to live your healthiest life. If you have any concerns about your weight, take a look at our Healthy Me page.

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