Cancer studies on nutrition can be scientifically stupid, very misleading, and downright damaging!!
Why are health statistics regarding food and cancer so confusing and contradictory? Here's the reason...
One minute we are told alcohol is bad, a week or two later it's said to be beneficial... ditto butter, eggs, fish, cheese, fat etc etc. Such studies can sometimes throw up data that is very useful, but, generally speaking, can confuse the entire population and do a lot of damage with highly misleading statements regarding health - and cancer.
But don't worry, the popular press make fortunes out of every single "scientific health study" they are fed! And we the people swallow it wholesale!! because it's "science"....
How can this be?
Let's see why this can happen...
The folly of reductionism, and Mono-nutrient studies...As exposed in his book "The China Study" T Colin Campbell PhD, shows how many studies employ bad science and unfortunate methodology, which, due to the reductionist mindset, loses all sense of the big picture regarding diet and health.
This is akin to giving 100,000 people a diet of dog biscuits and milk for 5 years, and expecting a sub-group of 10,000 who were also given a portion of carrot or apple 3 times a week to have significantly less cancer and heart disease than the others!
Obviously they would all probably die within weeks, but hopefully you get the point! In theory this sub group would survive better, but would ultimately be quite doomed anyway.
Likewise, had the sub-group instead been give a cheeseburger 3 times a week, (a noted unhealthy food) their health may not have been a great deal worse, - because the general prevailing diet is so dire!
This is analogous to the studies in question, and the prevailing Western diet common to the vast majority of participants involved.
To expect a single type of common nutrient within an (otherwise discredited) Western diet to have huge effect on the most serious diseases.... (IRONICALLY OFTEN CAUSED BY THE VERY SAME UNWISE DIET) is beyond stupid!
Logically, any effect is bound to be marginal at best.
I would not suggest that the Nurses Study or similar ones have no merit or are not useful in some ways, but when it comes to guarding against cancer and other major diseases of our times, they serve to muddy the water, and thus as a society we fail to grasp the nettle, and make the huge RADICAL CHANGES obviously required.
With diseases such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, alzheimer's disease etc all growing at such an alarming rate in the West, we have a farce whereby it is implied that minor tinkering with diet might be expected to offer serious protection from such a fate.
However, studies also show that when people from those places with very low cancer rates emigrate to Western countries like the USA, they, and their offspring, soon develop similar (high) cancer rates to the host country. It is thought highly likely that change of diet is a major factor in that statistic, though not the only factor of course.
The truth about food:
Food is only one element of importance when it comes to cancer, but a very significant one. Eating a diet that supplies all the key nutrients to build health is a core factor. Diet should also help to provide a slightly alkaline pH cellular environment, known to promote health and optimal functioning of the system. This is achieved by consuming certain fruits and plenty of green vegetables, while seriously limiting acid forming foods like meat and dairy, most processed foods, sugar, and other such junk.
Studies, such as the famous Nurses Study, serve to blind us to the above simple truths. They also serve to blind the medical profession, - who normally get no significant training about nutrition in relation to health. In fact doctors probably eat as badly as the rest of the population, and are known to have a worse mortality rate!
So when it comes to the medical establishment and their studies relating to diet and disease, (pun alert) we should take all such findings with a large pinch of salt!
Footnote: The folly of reductionism goes much further than this. It extends to looking at every type of known substance suggested to work against cancer, and then testing or analysing each separate individual component for its "cancer killing" properties...as if it should be a magic bullet that can prove its capability...(all on its own) or not. If not, it will usually be dismissed as of little value. Whereas the WISE, understand that natural components of certain food or substances usually work together synergistically, to provide a desired effect. For example, you wouldn't feed a child nothing but calcium in hope of building strong bones. It requires a huge amount of other nutrients to enable calcium to be usable for that purpose...or any other! Yet medical science insists on singling out each individual element and testing for 'magic bullet' prowess. Thus many cancer-reversing substances have been rejected as of no value, irrespective of all other evidence from those that have been helped or cured due to its use. Furthermore, dependable effective natural cancer treatments rely heavily on a complete lifestyle change and a strict protocol of measures that all work together to eliminate the underlying cause, while effectively reversing the cancer process. A strategy alien to conventional medicine.