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Strategic partnership will strengthen understanding of nutrition and cancer

Published: 20 October 2021

Leading charity World Cancer Research Fund and the NIHR Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration have announced a strategic partnership focused on delivering consistent, credible information and training about the links between cancer and diet to a greater number of people – including health professionals, patients and those looking to reduce their risk of cancer.  

Cancer is a leading cause of death in the UK, with 1 in 2 people developing cancer in their lifetime. Dietary factors play an important role in the prevention, development, treatment and survival of cancer. However, currently there is a gap in the provision of cancer-related nutritional information for those who need it most. 

Lesley Turner, NIHR patient advocate said: “As a cancer patient with a particular interest in nutrition and physical activity I am excited to hear about this new partnership. Patients and the public have been asking for consistent, evidence-based advice to help them make informed choices about their diets for years, and this collaboration has the potential to disseminate the latest evidence to those people who can benefit the most and are at the heart of the work carried out by both organisations.”

Rachael Gormley, Chief Executive, World Cancer Research Fund said: “Eight in ten people diagnosed with cancer tell us they haven’t received any dietary support. By partnering with the NIHR Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration, our goal is to reach many more people with our evidence-based advice, information, training workshops and e-learning programmes, and start to fill this gap. We are delighted to be working with such a highly credible group of scientists, health professionals and patient representatives to help us to achieve this.”

Professor Emeritus Sam H. Ahmedzai, Chair of the NIHR Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration, said: “In recent years, thanks to World Cancer Research Fund, we have gained so much understanding of how better nutrition, improvements in lifestyle and increasing levels of physical activity can help to prevent cancer development. The NIHR Collaboration wants to extend this evidence base to supporting patients and their families who are living with and beyond cancer. This new partnership will extend our network of healthcare professionals and researchers to tackle the current gaps in our knowledge and improve clinical practice."

This new partnership will build on the strengths of both organisations: World Cancer Research Fund has more than 30 years of expertise analysing the relationship between cancer and diet, nutrition and physical activity. This has informed its globally recognised Cancer Prevention Recommendations.  

The NIHR Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration, established seven years ago, is the only UK-based research network dedicated to broadening scientific knowledge of the links between nutrition and improved outcomes for people with cancer.

World Cancer Research Fund will initially provide the NIHR Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration with funding for two years. By joining forces, the two organisations can better support the expansion of ongoing programmes of research into cancer and nutrition, as well as ensure targeted health messages and training reach those who need it the most – including those in specialist oncology care, nutritionists, cancer patients and the general public.

The two partner organisations will be running a joint session at the upcoming NCRI Festival entitled ‘Cooking for people living with and beyond cancer: experts and patients discussing taste, nutrition and science’. During the session, which takes place from 3:30pm-4:30pm on 9 November, attendees will be able to watch a cookery demo with recipes created specifically for people undergoing cancer treatment, as well as pose questions to an expert panel made up of patients, researchers and health professionals.

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