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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FOOD3340 Food and Cancer

10 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Dr James Thorne

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Passes at 1st and 2nd year level in suitable biological science.

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

- If you have an interest in the link between food and cancer then Food and Cancer is an essential module. Note that you must have passed level 2 of a biological science degree programme to be eligible for this module. This 10 credit module is taught by a series of lectures throughout semester 1.- This module will explore the cell biology of cancer and how molecular nutrition experiements have helped scientist and healthcare professionals understand the link between soe food/dietry patterns and cancer. You will learn what cancer is, and what the hallmarks of cancer are. How can the diet be used to help prevent cancer, and how compounds derived from the diet have been 'weaponised' in the fight against cancer.- You will also explore how some food agents are carcinogenic and how these are identified and classified, what is risk acssociated with consuming them?Can lifestyle behaviours, such as that which leads to obesity cause cancer? Can meat in the diet cause cancer?- At the societal level you will explore why some reports ona single food may vary, what are the experimental variables that lead to apparently contradicting evidence, how to the media interpret scientific data?


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- understand and recall the hallmarks of cancer
- understand the current limitations and recent advances in how the diet influences cancer incidence, progression and recurrence, both in causative and protective roles

- understand the contributions of different forms of evidence (eg epidemiology, in vivo studies and mechanistic studies) and understand the basis of current dietary advice with regard to cancer prevention

- link nutritional information with in vivo biochemistry, and be able to differentiate between unbased claims, hypotheses and experimentally validated conclusions.
- evaluate the contribution different organisations make to public health regarding reducing cancer risk

Learning outcomes
Define the hallmarks of cancer
Understand how the global cancer burden is evolving
Critically evaluate claims that different dietary compounds may increase or decrease the risk of different cancers
Understand how a carcinogen is classified
Evaluate the evidence that leads to public health recommendations


- What is cancer?
-Molecular biology of cancer
- What are the hallmarks of cancer?
- Mechanisms of carcinogenesis
- Methods used to study the links between diet and cancer
- WCRF dietary recommendations and supporting evidence
- Molecular mechanisms through which individual foods, diets and components cause cancer
- Afllatoxins
- Obesity
- Meat
- How many individual foods (and components) prevent cancer, and what are nutraceuticals?
- Aspirin (and is it a food?)
- O3FAs
- All-trans retinoic acid (and Vitamin A)
- Cholesterol altering diets
- Glucosinolates
- Resveratrol/polyphenols

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours82.00
Total Contact hours18.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- Private study and examination preparation: 62 hours
- Directed reading (compulsory examination question): 8 hours
- Directed reading: 12 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Online MCQ at weeks 4 and 10

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 08/01/2020


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