One of the most common myths about cancer is that eating sugar can cause cancer cells to grow or grow at a faster rate.
This myth may have started because of a test used to help find cancer and see if it has spread within the body. During a positron emission tomography (PET)
scan the patient is injected with a small amount of glucose (sugar) that has been tagged with radioactive material.
Each cell in our body needs glucose as a source of energy. Glucose is one form of sugar. Once the radioactive glucose is injected, all cells absorb a small amount as
the cells continue to grow. Tumor cells are typically more active than other cells in the body and will absorb more of the radioactive glucose. This is how doctors
use a PET scan to look at the tumor and see if there are cancer cells in other parts of the body. This also may be why some people believe sugar helps cancer to develop.
Research has not shown that cancer is caused by eating too much sugar. And it is important to know that even if you stop eating any type of sugar, your body will
still make sugar out of the protein and fat you eat.
A balanced, healthy diet includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. Fruits are a great source of naturally occurring sugars. It is also best to avoid items
that have concentrated sugar in them, such as soda or candy. Eating a healthy diet has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
For more information about prevention of cancer or any cancer concern, contact:
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center/Cancer Information Service
Walk-in: 200 Hawkins Drive, 4802 JPP
Iowa City, Iowa 52242