What is the impact of vegetarian diets on cancer?

Cancer, like most other chronic health conditions, is a multifactorial disease. Diet plays an important role in cancer prevention and survival. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, “Plant food bolster our bodies’ defense against cancer.” A number of research studies has shown that individuals who consume highest vs. lowest amounts of different plant foods, such as tomatoes, fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, have a reduced risk of a variety of different cancer types. Similarly, as we would expect, studies have shown that vegetarians have a lower risk of different types of cancer, compared to non-vegetarians. The following quote taken for a study with members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church illustrates such effect, “Vegan diet seems to confer lower risk for overall and female-specific cancer compared to other dietary patterns. The lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets seem to confer protection from cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.” Similarly, evidence from a study from Great Britain has shown that there were significant differences in risk of cancer-related death among vegetarians and non-vegetarians, with vegetarians having more than 50% lower risk of death from pancreatic cancer and 50% lower risk for death from the lymphatic/hematopoietic tissue.