Eating Organic Food Does Not Decrease Incidence of Cancer

Eating organic food does not lead to a decrease in cancer.

There is little to no decrease in cancer in those who consume organic food- concludes a study from The University of Oxford, published in the British Journal of Cancer.  

When researchers looked at the relationship between consumption of organic food and those who developed cancer, they found that organic food offered no protective benefit. In fact, there was a small increase in breast cancer (1.37%).

The work covered 17 types of cancer in a large PROSPECTIVE study of middle-aged women in the United Kingdom.


At baseline, 30%, 63% and 7% of women reported never, sometimes, or usually/always eating organic food, respectively. Consumption of organic food was not associated with a reduction in the incidence of all cancer (n=53 769 cases in total) (RR for usually/always vs never=1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.99–1.07), soft tissue sarcoma (RR=1.37, 95% CI: 0.82–2.27), or breast cancer (RR=1.09, 95% CI: 1.02–1.15), but was associated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (RR=0.79, 95% CI: 0.65–0.96).


Besides vegetables, any food raised in a self-described “organic” manner


In this large prospective study there was little or no decrease in the incidence of cancer associated with consumption of organic food, except possibly for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Ten years ago it was felt that vegetables were the magic cure to prevent cancer- and the more organic the better.  This, as well as other research shows that vegetables offer no benefit, in spite of earlier studies looking at populations of vegetarians.


British Journal of Cancer 110, 2321-2326 (29 April 2014) | doi:10.1038/bjc.2014.148

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit

Share this article on social media!

Latest Comments

  1. Steve Courmanopoulos says:

    Dietary self-reporting studies, especially with loose categories such as never, sometimes, and usually, are virtually worthless in a non-controlled environment.

  2. Dr. Terry Simpson says:

    This is a prospective study- not a study looking backwards. It has more power, and the food journals were kept and checked. From a science point of view, there is no difference between an organic apple and a non-organic apple especially considering the watered down rules for labeling organic food. Most who wish to eat organic food do it less for health and more for environmental reasons.

  3. drterrysimpson says:

    this was prospective – not retrospective – with good documentation of the food. But generally yes- I agree most food studies are worthless for anything but adding another paper to the resume

  4. Dr. Terry Simpson says:

    BT is used by organic farmers- they spray it throughout all of their crops, and their food is labeled organic. It is not even tested for in pesticide residue because it does not interrupt anything in vertebrate biochemistry. Agriculture has a massive effect – and to say it cannot be identified is rather silly. We have had 14 years of crops with GMO and most pigs and cattle have fed off them – and GMO crops have led to a net reduction in pesticides and herbicides. And organic farming has profound impacts on the environment also – see the dust bowl of the 1920’s. You cannot expect to do that kind of damage to topsoil and not expect a major impact – we have seen that.

Leave a Reply