The human diet evolved over thousands of years to include the foods most beneficial to our health, but in recent times we have favoured a diet that excludes many of these essential foods.  Returning to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other important foods is essential to preventing cancer. [..] We must admit that progress does not apply to our diets  Prof Richard Beliveau and Dr Denis Gingras, “Foods to fight cancer”, Dorling Kindersley 2007
  1.  Maintaining a healthy weight is very important - overweight and obesity have been associated with increased cancer risk
  2.  Limit animal protein intake and avoid processed meat - Eat organic grass fed meat
  3.  Avoid high glycemic index food (such as refined sugar and white flour)
  4.  Prefer organic food and small size fish - Obviously it is best to eat many “standard” fruit and vegetables  on a daily basis than occasionally eating organic foods. There are some health safety concerns on fish (see Anticancer ingredients). Avoid endagered fish species.
  5. To avoid potential interactions  be sure to let your health care provider know if you use this or any other type of complementary therapy
Anticancer foods
Vegetables (including legumes)
Vegetables provide the widest range of nutrients and phytochemicals. They are rich in vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates and contain fatty acids.
Fruits are rich in many nutrients and phytochemicals, such as polyphenols and flavonoids.
Herbs and spices
“Add spice to your life” - Most of the commonly used spices and herbs have anticancer properties.
Grains are the most important food crop in the world.  They are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates and high in fiber.  It is important to understand that the process of refining the grain, by removing its bran and germ (for example when producing flour), results in the loss of many important nutrients.  The refining is done because it increases the shelf life of the grain.  Nowadays to compensate for such nutritional loss the end product, such as flour, is “enriched” with nutrients like vitamins, thiamine, and niacin.  Moreover, the process of refining increases the food glycemic index.  Maybe it would be wiser to just eat the whole grain rather than refining it and then adding back a little portion of nutrients.
Nutritiens lost when the bran and germ are removed from wheat (Dr Michael Murray, Dr Joseph Pizzorno, Lara Pizzorno, “The encyclopedia of Healing Foods”, Time Warner Books, 2006, page 323)
Thiamine 		97%
Vitamin B6 		94%
Niacin 		88%
Chromium 		87%
Magnesium 		80%
Potassium 		77%
Zinc 			7 Zinc 			72%
Fiber 			70%
Essential fatty acids 	70%
Riboflavin 		68%
Calcium 		60%
Pantothenic acid 	57%
Protein 		25%

Zinc 			7
Omega-3s fatty acids
Their low intake is believed to be one of the biggest food deficiencies in western diets. Excellent sources are fish and flaxseed. So as to limit the exposure to harmful substances it is preferable to eat wild caught and small size fish.
Foods to eat in moderation
Meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products
Meat and dairy products excessive consumption is associated with increased cancer risk.
The world meat consumption has increased by nearly 6 times since the 1950’s. To meet the surge in demand farming had to modify its production by taking short cuts.  As a result the meat and dairy products we consume (unless organic grass fed or forage fed for chickens) contain:
  1. Imbalance amounts of omega-3s to omega-6s fatty acids - In their natural state cows are able to graze and eat primarily grass, which is rich in omega-3s fatty acids. Omega-3s can be found in grass fed red meat and in eggs from forage fed chickens.  Most animals are no longer able to graze and are fed with corn, soy, wheat (usually bioengineered and sprayed with pesticides and antibiotics) and animal by-products.  These food sources are rich in omega-6s fatty acids. While our body needs both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in a balanced manner (usually 1:1 or 2:1), their intake has become imbalanced over the past 50 years.  If animals are grass fed their meat, dairy products and eggs have an omega-3 to 6 ratio of 1:1 or 1:2.  On the other hand if they are fed corn and soy this ratio becomes as high as 1:40.  For example eggs from corn fed chicken have an omega-3 to 6 content ratio of 1:20.  Eggs from forage fed chickens have a ratio of 1:1.  Analogously Grass fed bison have a significantly higher ratio of omega3 to 6 than crop fed ones. Similar effects are found in chicken, lamb and other meats.  This imbalance increases inflammation, depression, coagulation, growth of adipose and cancer risk.
  2. Growth hormones and estrogen - To stimulate animal growth as well as milk production, hormones such as estradiol, zeranol and rBGH (banned in Europe and Canada) are used.  These hormones are then found in milk and fatty tissues.  Please note that even if hormones are not directly given to the animal, the animal can acquire them by eating animal by-products and crops containing them. The presence in meat and dairy products of such hormones increases cancer risk.  For example estrogen found in milk and cheese has been associated with higher incidence of breast, ovarian, corpus uteri, and prostate cancers.
  3. Antibiotics - Due to overcrowding, animals are more susceptible to illness.  As a consequence, antibiotics are used to treat them. Furthermore antibiotics are applied to crops, which are used to feed the animals. This generates resistance to antibiotics in humans.
Finally, in the USA alone 70% of crops production is designated to feeding livestock and poultry.  Every kilo of meat is represented by several kilos of crops.  Our ecosystem has been changed to fulfill meat production demand for examples by causing deforestation, great quantities of animal waste (in the US animal waste is 130 times that of humans),  methane emission (livestock contribute to 28% of world methane emission).
Consumption recommendations: If possible limit your total meat consumption.  The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends to limit red meat consumption to 500gr per week and to avoid cured meat.  Eat organic-grass fed meat.
High glycemic index food
Consumption of refined sugar has significantly increased over the past few decades, just like cancer incidence.
When we consume high glycemic index food, such as sugar or white flour, the sugar in the blood increases, as a response our body releases hormones such as insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) which modulate cell proliferation and survival and promote inflammation, thus acting as a fertiliser for cancer development.  We can easily reduce the amount of high glycemic index foods we eat and replace them with low glycemic index ones.  
There are foods that have shown to help with blood sugar control: garlic, onions, shallots, olives, some legumes, nuts, artichokes, and mangoes.  Cinnamon may also be helpful.
Dietary fat
High consumption of dietary fat is associated with weight gain, increased inflammation and cancer risk. For example in a US cohort study, fat intake was directly associated with an increase in postmenopausal breast cancer. Please note that hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated trans fats, such as margarine, are made from vegetable oil, like sunflower and soy oil, with a highly imbalanced omega-3s/omega-6s ratio (for example sunflower oil ratio is 1:70). On the contrary, olive oil has anticancer properties (see Anticancer ingredients Extra-virgin olive oil).
Low GI (use liberally)
  1. Natural sugar extracts: Agave nectar, stevia (a pacific plant), Xylitol, wisteria, dark chocolate (>70%)
  2. Mixed wholegrain cereals: Multi-grain bread (not just wheat), or leavened (sourdough) bread. Rice: wholegrain or Basmati or Thai. Pasta and noodles cooked al dente (preferably multigrain). Grains: quinoa, oats, millet, buckwheat.
  3. Lentils, peas, beans, sweet potatoes, yams
  4. Oatmeal (porridge), Muesli, All bran, Special K
  5. Fruit in natural state: particularly blueberries, cherries, raspberries, which help regulate the blood sugar levels (if necessary use Agave nectar for sweetening)
  6. Water flavoured with lemon, thyme or sage. Green tea (without sugar or use Agave nectar), which combats cancer directly
  7. One glass of red wine a day with meal
Dr David Servan-Schreiber, “Anticancer a new way of life”, Pocket Guide, Penguin Books 2008,
High GI (avoid)
  1. Sugar: white or brown, honey, syrups: maple, fructose, dextrose
  2. White/bleached flours: white bread, white rice, overcooked white pasta, muffins, bagels, croissants, rice cakes
  3. Potatoes (except for the Nicola variety), especially mashed potatoes
  4. Cornflakes, Rice Krispies and most of the other bleached or sweetened breakfast cerials
  5. Jams and jellies, fruit cooked in sugar, fruit in syrup
  6. Sweetened drinks: mass-produced fruit juices, sodas
  7. Alcohol (except during meals)
Dr David Servan-Schreiber, “Anticancer a new way of life”, Pocket Guide, Penguin Books 2008,
Key Concepts
  1. We can decrease cancer risk by up to 40% by eating a healthy diet
  2. Our diet tends to be rich in pro-inflammatory food such as meat, refined sugar and dietary fat
  3. We seem to forget that our diet evolved over thousands of years to include ingredients with great health benefits similar to man-made drugs
  4. An anticancer diet is rich in vegetables accompanied by grains, fruits, olive oil and organic butter, herbs and spices  
  5. It is important to remain flexible and to make changes because of desire and excitement not fear. We need to listen to our body’s needs as not all diets work for everyone
Aksoy Y, Aksoy H, Bakan E, Atmaca AF, Akçay F, “Serum insulin-like growth factor-I and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3 in localized, metastasized prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia”, Urol Int. 2004;72(1):62-5
American Institute for Cancer Research, “Recommendations for cancer prevention”,, Retrieved 24 March 24, 2009Bachman KC, “Milk Production of Dairy Cows Treated With Estrogen at the Onset of a Short Dry Period”, J. Dairy Sci. 85:797–803
Callan AC, Milne E, “Involvement of the IGF system in fetal growth and childhood cancer: an overview of potential mechanisms”, Cancer Causes Control. 2009 Jun 17
Donaldson MS, “Nutrition and cancer: a review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet”, Nutr J. 2004 Oct 20;3:19
Dr David Servan-Schreiber, “Anticancer a new way of life”, Penguin Books, Great Britain 2008
Dr Michael Murray, Dr Joseph Pizzorno, Lara Pizzorno MA LTM, “The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods”, Time Warner Books, Great Britain 2006
Duessel S, Heuertz RM, Ezekiel UR, “Growth inhibition of human colon cancer cells by plant compounds”, Clin Lab Sci. 2008 Summer;21(3):151-7
Farlow DW, Xu X, Veenstra TD, “Quantitative measurement of endogenous estrogen metabolites, risk-factors for development of breast cancer, in commercial milk products by LC-MS/MS”, J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2009 Jan 31
Freedland SJ, Aronson WJ, “Dietary intervention strategies to modulate prostate cancer risk and prognosis”, Curr Opin Urol. 2009 Mar 18
Ganmaa D, Sato A, “The possible role of female sex hormones in milk from pregnant cows in the development of breast, ovarian and corpus uteri cancers”, Med Hypotheses. 2005;65(6):1028-37
Gorman C, Bjerklie D, Park A,  “Playing Chicken With Our Antibiotics”, TIME Monday, Jan. 21, 2002
Grant WB , “A multicountry ecologic study of risk and risk reduction factors for prostate cancer mortality”, Eur Urol. 2004 Mar;45(3):271-9
Kelavkar UP, Hutzley J, Dhir R, Kim P, Allen KG, McHugh K, “Prostate tumor growth and recurrence can be modulated by the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in diet: athymic mouse xenograft model simulating radical prostatectomy”, Neoplasia. 2006 Feb;8(2):112-24,
Maeda H, Yonou H, Yano K, Ishii G, Saito S, Ochiai A, “Prostate-specific antigen enhances bioavailability of insulin-like growth factor by degrading insulin-like growth factor binding protein 5”, Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Apr 10;381(3):311-6.
McKelvey W, Greenland S, Chen MJ, Longnecker MP, Frankl HD, Lee ER, Haile RW ,“A case-control study of colorectal adenomatous polyps and consumption of foods containing partially hydrogenated oils”, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1999 Jun;8(6):519-24
Prof Richard Beliveau and Dr Denis Gingras, “Foods to fight cancer”, Dorling Kindersley, Great Britain 2007
Qin LQ, Wang PY, Kaneko T, Hoshi K, Sato A, “Estrogen: one of the risk factors in milk for prostate cancer”, Med Hypotheses. 2004;62(1):133-42
Qin LQ, Xu JY, Wang PY, Tong J, Hoshi K, “Milk consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer in Western countries: evidence from cohort studies”, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16(3):467-76.
Renehan AG, Zwahlen M, Minder C, O'Dwyer ST, Shalet SM, Egger M, “Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, IGF binding protein-3, and cancer risk: systematic review and meta-regression analysis”, Lancet. 2004 Apr 24;363(9418):1346-53
Rollison DE, Newschaffer CJ, Tao Y, Pollak M, Helzlsouer KJ, “Premenopausal levels of circulating insulin-like growth factor I and the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer”, Int J Cancer. 2006 Mar 1;118(5):1279-84
Sarah M. Dunlap, Joseph Celestino, Hua Wang, Rongcai Jiang, Eric C. Holland, Gregory N. Fuller, and Wei Zhang, “Insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 promotes glioma development and progression”, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 July 10; 104(28): 11736–11741
Simopoulos AP, “ Evolutionary aspects of diet, the omega-6/omega-3 ratio and genetic variation: nutritional implications for chronic diseases”, Biomed Pharmacother. 2006 Nov;60(9):502-7
Simopoulos AP, “The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids”, Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Oct;56(8):365-79
Teresa Norat, Sheila Bingham, Pietro Ferrari, Nadia Slimani, Mazda Jenab, Mathieu Mazuir, Kim Overvad, Anja Olsen, Anne Tjønneland, Françoise Clavel, Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault, Emmanuelle Kesse, Heiner Boeing, Manuela M. Bergmann, Alexandra Nieters, Jakob Linseisen, Antonia Trichopoulou, Dimitrios Trichopoulos, Yannis Tountas, Franco Berrino, Domenico Palli, Salvatore Panico, Rosario Tumino, Paolo Vineis, H Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, Petra H. M. Peeters, Dagrun Engeset, Eiliv Lund, Guri Skeie, Eva Ardanaz, Carlos González, Carmen Navarro, J Ramón Quirós, María-José Sanchez, Göran Berglund, Irene Mattisson, Göran Hallmans, Richard Palmqvist, Nicholas E. Day, Kay-Tee Khaw, Timothy J. Key, Miguel San Joaquin, Bertrand Hémon, Rodolfo Saracci, Rudolf Kaaks, and Elio Riboli, “Meat, fish, and colorectal cancer risk: the European Prospective Investigation into cancer and nutrition”, J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005 June; 97(12): 906–916
Thiébaut AC, Kipnis V, Chang SC, Subar AF, Thompson FE, Rosenberg PS, Hollenbeck AR, Leitzmann M, Schatzkin A, “Dietary fat and postmenopausal invasive breast cancer in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study cohort”, J Natl Cancer Inst. 2007 Mar 21;99(6):451-62
Thompson AK, Shaw DI, Minihane AM, Williams CM,“Trans-fatty acids and cancer: the evidence reviewed”, Nutr Res Rev. 2008 Dec;21(2):174-88
Uddhav P Kelavkar, Justin Hutzley, Rajiv Dhir, Paul Kim, Kenneth G D Allen, Kevin McHugh, ”Prostate Tumor Growth and Recurrence Can Be Modulated by the ω-6:ω-3 Ratio in Diet: Athymic Mouse Xenograft Model Simulating Radical Prostatectomy”, Neoplasia. 2006 February; 8(2): 112–124
Wang J, John EM, Horn-Ross PL, Ingles SA “Dietary fat, cooking fat, and breast cancer risk in a multiethnic population”, Nutr Cancer. 2008;60(4):492-504
Willett WC, “Dietary fat and breast cancer”, Toxicol Sci. 1999 Dec;52(2 Suppl):127-46
Wu AH, Yu MC, Tseng CC, Stanczyk FZ, Pike MC, “Dietary patterns and breast cancer risk in Asian American women”, Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;89(4):1145-54
While research on active food compounds anticancer properties is ongoing and no one specific diet has been formulated, the scientific community agrees that a plant based diet decreases cancer risk. An example of an anticancer diet is the one proposed by Dr David Servan-Schreiber. His anticancer diet is rich in vegetables (including legumes) and accompanied by grains (cereals), fruits, extra-virgin olive oil and organic butter in moderation, herbs and spices, and optional animal proteins (organic grass fed meat, eggs and diary products and preferably wild caught/small size fish).  
It is important to remain flexible and to make changes because of desire and excitement, not fear. We need to listen to our body’s needs as not all diets work for everyone and there maybe times when we require different types of food, for example some physicians may advise to eat a diet very rich in protein while undergoing chemotherapy. Be gentle with yourself.
Listen to Dr. David Servan-Schreiber talking about his experience in dealing with cancer.
You can decrease your chances of getting cancer by as much as 40% by eating a healthier diet.  
Some foods are cancer promoters whilst several others actually prevent and help fight cancer.  
Over the past 50 years our diet has significantly changed: not only is the food we eat different but also the way we produce it.  We tend to follow a diet rich in animal proteins, high glycemic index food (sugar and white flour) and hydrogenated trans fats, all of which increase inflammation and cancer risk.  Food production utilises pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, etc, all of which are detrimental to our health.
We seem to consider food just as fuel and to have forgotten its health benefits, much to the detriment of our health.  Certain foods selected over the course of evolution have countless anticancer compounds (See Anticancer ingredients for more details and consumption recommendations).  When combined together such compounds have a synergic effect.  Including them in our daily diet can help us prevent and fight cancer and it is a simple and effective way to improve our health.