Pancreatic Cancer

Several cohort studies, including an analysis of the NIH-AARP cohort and the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort, found no association between high levels of sugar intake and the incidence of pancreatic cancer.5,6 Another large cohort study also found no association between high intake of total sugars, sucrose, or fructose intake and pancreatic cancer risk.7 High fruit and fruit juice intake, however, were associated with increased pancreatic risk (RR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.02-1.84; P = .04), though soda consumption was not.

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Breast Cancer

A case-control study of 3148 women from the African American and European American populations found a significant increase in odds of developing estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer among postmenopausal European American women who frequently consumed sugary drinks (odds ratio [OR], 2.05; 95% CI, 1.13-3.70), but not among premenopausal European American women or pre-/postmenopausal African American women.8

Another case-control study of 764 women demonstrated a significant increased risk of breast cancer among premenopausal (OR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.53-2.61; P = .001) and postmenopausal (OR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.03-2.61; P = .045) Malaysian women with high sugar consumption compared with lower sugar consumption.9

Endometrial Cancer

In the Iowa Women’s Health Study of 23,039 postmenopausal women, sugar was associated with a significant increase in risk of type I (HR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.32-2.40; P = .0005), but not type II endometrial cancer.10 There was no association between endometrial cancer risk and consumption of fruit juice, sucrose, glucose, and fructose consumption.

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A case-control study demonstrated similar findings.11 In this study of 424 cases of epithelial endometrial cancer and 398 controls, high levels of added sugar consumption were significantly associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer (OR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.16-2.92). This association was stronger among women with a larger waist-to-hip ratio (OR, 2.50; 95% CI, 1.38-4.52).

Ovarian Cancer

A case-control study of 595 women found no association between total sugar intake, consumption of sugary beverages or desserts, and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer.12

Colorectal Cancer

A case-control study using data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study found that high levels of sucrose (relative risk [RR], 1.30; 95% CI, 0.99-1.69; P = .03) and fructose (RR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.05-1.78; P = .008) intake were associated with colorectal cancer among men, but not women.13 Another case-control study found no association overall between sugar or sucrose intake and colorectal cancer risk in a Japanese population.14

Thyroid Cancer

Another analysis of the EPIC study found no association between sugar intake and differentiated thyroid cancer risk.15


Though there are few studies that have evaluated the effect of sugar consumption on cancer outcomes, the available data suggest that high sugar intake may increase the risk of colorectal cancer recurrence. The data regarding sugar consumption and the increased risk of cancer are, however, not consistent, making it difficult to draw definitive conclusions.


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