Alcohol, coffee, stress and genes:
what really causes cancer?

Those most at risk of cancer are among the least aware when it comes to the dangers of developing the disease from drinking alcohol. That's the main finding of our YouGov poll this summer, which found that only 1 in 2 UK adults over the age of 55 are aware that drinking alcohol increases their risk of cancer.

A higher number of younger (25–34 year old) people know alcohol is a cancer risk factor (67%) as opposed to 55% of those aged 55+.

If you're surprised – or even worried – about these new findings, here are 2 things you can do TODAY to reduce your cancer risk.
  1. Take our Cancer Health Check. It's a quick, unintrusive way to find out which areas of your lifestyle may be affecting your risk of cancer.
  2. Order our free booklet on the 10 PROVEN ways to protect yourself against cancer. The 10 ways were not only devised by scientists using the strongest evidence. They've also been rigorously tested in independent studies to show that following them reduces your risk.
Read more about our YouGov poll findings
A cup of coffee with sachets of sugar and sweeteners

The science on artificial sweeteners

Studies on artificial sweeteners, including saccharin and aspartame, have shown no convincing evidence of an association with cancer. Earlier cancer scares surrounding certain sweeteners have been discredited.

However, The Conversation recently revealed new evidence suggesting a link. A study in PLOS Medicine, which looked at more than 100,000 people – half of whom were followed for more than eight years – said people who consume high levels of some sweeteners – aspartame and acesulfame K, in particular –  have a small increase in their risk of certain types of cancer, especially breast and obesity-related cancers, such as colorectal, stomach and prostate cancers.

We put the article to Nicole Musuwo, our Senior Research Interpretation Officer. She said:

"Overall, the evidence on artificial sweeteners and cancer risk in humans remains inconclusive. While the study in PLOS Medicine found an increased risk, looking at the entirety of the evidence is more important than one study alone. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis – which pools together all the relevant studies – published by the World Health Organization in April found no association between higher intakes of sweeteners and cancer incidence or mortality. There is some, but very low, evidence for an increased risk of bladder cancer; however, the majority of evidence comes from case-control studies and more clinical trials are needed. 

“In relation to artificially sweetened drinks, we have found no strong evidence in humans to suggest that diet drinks are a cause of cancer. What we do know is that maintaining a healthy weight, keeping active and eating a healthy diet are the best ways to reduce your risk of cancer, as well as not smoking and staying out of the sun.”

People cheer on WCRF's London Marathon runners

Cheer on our runners!

It's the London Marathon on Sunday 2 Oct, and our runners would love to see YOU in the crowd cheering them on! You don't need any experience – just lots of enthusiasm. If you're interested, email or ring Hannah Burgess, our Community and Events Fundraising Manager, on 020 7343 4245.

> More about our events

A woman reads the label on a tin of infant formula milk

Breastfeeding in 2022

How many women around the world breastfeed these days, and what are the benefits for both mother and baby? Jennifer O’Mara of World Cancer Research Fund International's policy team had a look at the stats, starting in her native Ireland, to mark World Breastfeeding Week in early August.

> Breastfeeding across the world

Muffin to see here

The chaos of back to school can mean our good intentions around healthy eating and moving more fly out of the window. Our updated (we added more muffin-ness) chocolate beetroot muffin recipe is perfect for school lunches or as a pick-up snack. They're great for busy mums and dads to eat too.

> Cheap, tasty, seasonal treats

That thing in December

It's obviously FAR too early in the year to even think of mentioning that event in December, with presents and a man in a red suit, and reindeer with lit-up antlers, and trees and stars and white stuff falling from the sky, so we're not going to mention any of those things, and instead suggest you click on the link below.

> Just 114 days to go

Would you like a free poster?

Poster showing what is a healthy portion sizeEating a healthy portion size can help control our weight, which – in turn – can help reduce our risk of a number of cancers.

Getting portion wise is one of the first steps for anyone wanting to manage their weight, so we've designed this poster to show you in practical terms how much you should be eating.

It's free to download, or we'll send you a free copy if you prefer. Stick it up in the office (go on, no one will know it was you …)

Yes, I'd like a free poster please
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