New Research Aims to Decrease Risk of Cancer through Irish Dietary Habits 5 years ago

New Research Aims to Decrease Risk of Cancer through Irish Dietary Habits

The Irish Cancer Society today announced their partnership with International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) through the funding of an Irish fellowship aimed at identifying Irish dietary habits with a view to decreasing the risk of cancer. The partnership is part of an international effort to decrease cancer rates by improving lifestyle choices through a number of factors, including dietary modifications. 

According to WHO, dietary modification is an important approach for cancer prevention and control as there is a strong link between obesity and many types of cancers including breast, kidney, colorectal, oesophageal and endometrial cancers.

Man in Scanner

The research fellowship, which has been awarded to Irish researcher Dr Amy Mullee, will support the implementation of a dietary monitoring programme in Ireland with the ultimate goal of providing clearer recommendations to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

A key objective of IARC, the specialised cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), is to promote international collaboration in cancer research. The dietary monitoring programme which will be utilised by Dr Mullee is based on the standards set by IARC-WHO joint "GloboDiet" initiative, coordinated by Dr Slimani head of the Dietary Exposure Assessment group (DEX) at IARC. It is hoped that this research will also feed into the development of public health policy and recommendations for the prevention of cancer in Ireland, and across Europe.

Mediterranean food Mediterranean food

Dr Mullee is being funded by the Irish Cancer Society to undertake this research in IARC headquarters, Lyon, France for two years, enabling her to gain valuable research expertise in a world renowned institute. The research fellowship will examine and enhance the existing capacities and infrastructures necessary to develop enhanced dietary monitoring in Ireland and align it with global dietary monitoring initiatives currently in operation. After she returns to Ireland, Dr Mullee will receive further funding to continue this important work in the National Nutrition Surveillance Centre (NNSC), based in University College Dublin.

Dr Amy Mullee, IARC-Ireland Fellow, stated: “I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to contribute to the further development of dietary monitoring and surveillance in Ireland. It is estimated that 30% of cancers are preventable through lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes. I look forward to collaborating closely with IARC and the National Nutrition Surveillance Centre in Dublin over the coming years.”

Dr. Robert O’Connor, Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, said: “The Irish Cancer Society is delighted to support this project as collaboration between IARC and Irish institutes brings us one step closer to identifying risk factors that may lead to cancer. We hope the data acquired as a result of this project will help IARC researchers to identify and monitor dietary indicators for the prevention of cancer. Ultimately, research projects such as the GloboDiet initiative will contribute towards a future without cancer.”


Anouk Berger, Education and Training Officer, IARC stated: “The IARC – Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship for Training in Cancer Research directly supports cancer research programmes contributing to the identification of the causes of cancer so that preventive measures may be adopted and the burden of disease reduced. Within the framework of the IARC Education and Training mission, the partnership contributes to building a new generation of cancer researchers in Ireland.”

Dr Celine Murrin, UCD Lecturer and NNSC Investigator stated: “This research programme provides a timely opportunity to realise the Irish Government’s aim of developing “Excellent population health analysis capability” as part of the Healthy Ireland Framework (2013-2015). We look forward to collaborating with IARC to further developing this nutritional surveillance capability in Ireland.”