Two common mistakes are responsible for the most diet-related cancer cases

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Poor diet is a risk factor for cancer. [Photo: Getty]

Avoiding two main diet mistakes might help us to stave off our cancer risk, according to a new study.

While cancer-fighting scientists have warned us off everything from bacon to too-hot beverages, it can be hard to identify which foods we should be introducing into our diet, instead.

But the latest findings demonstrate two specific ways to modify our eating habits, through eating more of the foods that are good for us: namely, dairy and whole grains.

The research, published in the journal JNCI Cancer Spectrum, found a “sub-optimal diet” is responsible for 5.2%, or 80,110, of all new invasive cancer incidents in the US every year.

To put this into context, the much-publicised cancer burden associated with alcohol is roughly the same: between 4 and 6 per cent.

"Our findings underscore the opportunity to reduce cancer burden and disparities in the United States by improving food intake," said lead author Fang Fang Zhang, a cancer and nutrition researcher at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts.

Low whole grain intake followed by low dairy intake accounted for the largest number of new cancer cases related to poor diet.

This was followed by high processed meat intake, low vegetable and fruit intake, high red meat intake, and high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages.

In terms of which cancers are most commonly linked to diet, colorectal had the highest-proportion of linked cases (38.3%), followed by mouth, pharynx, and larynx (25.9% in all cases).

Celebrities are increasingly talking about different cancer symptoms in an effort to raise public attention around their conditions.

Earlier this week, Sir Michael Parkinson opened up about suffering from a weak bladder, a lesser-known side effect of his treatment for prostate cancer.

The 84-year-old was first given the all clear following treatment for the cancer, but has been left surprised by some of the side effects he’s since suffered following an operation and radiotherapy back in 2013.

Meanwhile, actress Marcia Cross opened up about her anal cancer struggle earlier this year.