Diet and cervical cancer: What is the link?
Up to 99.7% of cervical cancer cases result from infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). This viral infection causes abnormal changes to the cervix, leading to the
Doctors may diagnose cervical cancer during routine health screens such as
In addition to regular Pap smears and HPV testing, there are three
Other factors that
Diet and nutrition play a
In fact, adequate nutrition helps to optimize the immune system, which, in turn, eliminates HPV and helps the body respond against cancer tumors.
However, research on the role of diet and nutrition in preventing or reducing the risk of developing cervical cancer has focused on antioxidant nutrients and
Diets with high inflammatory potential — much like the Western-style dietary pattern — are associated with the development of cervical cancer, particularly among women who have an HPV infection and a sedentary lifestyle.
A Western diet — which is typically high in saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium — reportedly increases
On the other hand, adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet — rich in fruits, vegetables, peas or beans, healthy fats, and fish —
The intake of
Each of these antioxidant nutrients plays various
Therefore, it is best to focus on overall dietary patterns and not just on single nutrients.
A daily increase of 100 grams (g) of fruit, the equivalent of 1 cup of cranberries, was associated with a reduced risk of cervical cancer. Likewise, a daily increase of 100 g of vegetables has a similar effect.
A person could eat more:
- fruit and vegetables, focusing on variety of colors and textures
- complex carbs, such as whole grain rice, pasta, bread, and couscous
- nuts, seeds, and olive oils, which are healthy, unsaturated fats, to replace saturated and trans fats
- herbs and spices, such as onion and garlic, while limiting added sodium
- low fat dairy, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
- legumes such as peas, lentils, and beans, including garbanzo beans and red beans
In addition to maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet, the use of a daily multivitamin supplement among women with HPV is
Foods with high inflammatory potential are associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer.
The “fast food culture” of the Western diet, characterized by processed foods that are low in dietary fiber and rich in added sugars, increases inflammation and is
Thus, foods to limit or avoid include:
- foods high in added sugar
- processed meats such as deli meat
- red meats
- foods high in saturated and trans fats
The excessive consumption of
Naturally occurring and plant-based sources of saturated and trans fats did not have a negative impact on cancer risk.
Pro-inflammatory foods disrupt the balance of
There are several at-home, natural remedies that promise to treat or cure cervical cancer without medical intervention.
Some natural practices — such as drinking
Always consult with your oncological medical team to determine the best treatment options.
Cervical cancer is one of the most common gynecologic cancers. Infection with HPV causes 99.7% of cases.
There is a clear link between diet and nutrition, the progression of HPV infection, and the subsequent development of cervical cancer.
The fast-food culture of the Western diet — the hallmarks of which are processed foods, red meats, low dietary fiber, and high added sugar — is pro-inflammatory and associated with an increased risk for cervical cancer.
Research suggests that antioxidant nutrients such as carotenoids, vitamins A, C, E, D, and folate — all found predominantly in a Mediterranean-style diet — may prevent or reduce HPV infection, and by extension, the development of cervical cancer.
Limit pro-inflammatory foods and increase fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidant nutrients, to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
Avoid replacing appropriate medical intervention and treatment with at-home, natural remedies to manage cervical cancer. Consult with your oncological medical team for the best treatment options.