Cancer Council Australia
Larger Text Smaller Text Print

Food and nutrition



In general, eating a healthy, balanced diet reduces your risk of developing cancer, while a poor diet increases your cancer risk. Cancers associated with diet are most commonly found in the digestive tract, including the oesophagus, stomach and bowel.

Improving your diet can be as simple as trying to eat more:

  • vegetables, fruit and legumes
  • cereals (preferably wholegrain) – bread, rice, pasta and noodles contain fibre, and a diet high in fibre can reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer.

There is evidence to suggest that diets high in red meat (particularly processed meats such as salami or ham) can increase the risk of developing cancer. Try to avoid eating too much processed meat. If you eat red meat try to eat small serves of lean meat and limit it to 3-4 times a week. Incorporate chicken and fish into other meals or try vegetarian alternatives.

Diet can also influence body weight, which in turn can affect your risk of developing cancer. It is important to balance the amount of energy (kilojoules or calories) you take in with the amount of energy you expend each day.


This page was last updated on: Monday, March 17, 2014