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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FOOD3340 Food and Cancer

10 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Dr James Thorne

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

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

This module is mutually exclusive with

FOOD5340MFood and Cancer

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

If you have an interest in the link between Food and Cancer then this is an essential module. You will explore how some dietary components are carcinogenic and how these are identified and classified, what is the risk associated with consuming them. For example, can diets, such as those that lead to obesity, cause cancer? Can meat in the diet cause cancer? Equally, are some foods and dietary patterns able to protect people from developing cancer?At the societal level you will explore why reports may vary, what are the experimental variables that lead to apparently contradicting evidence, how do the media interpret scientific data?This module will explore the biology of cancer and how experiments and observational studies have helped scientists and healthcare professionals understand the link between some foods/dietary 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 used in the fight against cancer.


The objectives of this module are to explore and understand:
1. Cancer at the molecular and population level,
2. How food influences cancer risk and outcomes,
3. How relevant scientific evidence is collected, collated and assessed,
4. What evidence underpins current public health advice and clinical practice in relation to food and cancer.
You will learn about the biology of cancer and how these processes are disrupted and enhanced by food. There are several large regulatory, advisory and analytical agencies that classify compounds in relation to cancer risk and make public health recommendations; you will learn about how these agencies make these decisions, the impact it has on cancer rates and survival and place these data in the context of mass media reporting and in the wider scientific community. At the end of this module, you will be confident to interpret a range of data types that have informed public policy on cancer prevention, and competent to discuss the links between food and cancer in an informative manner with your peers and the general public.

Learning outcomes
1. Develop knowledge and understanding of the biological mechanisms of cancer and how food can alter these
2. Understand how agencies, charities and/or government organisations evaluate evidence to provide advice on food and cancer to the general public.
3. Be able to evaluate health claims and advice for the general population, stratified groups, and for people living with and beyond cancer.


How nutrients and food contaminants interact with the body to promote or prevent cancer. Explore the roles of agencies, charities and government in shaping and delivering nutrition advice for cancer prevention and for cancer patients. Learn how scientific evidence that links food and cancer is collected, collated and reviewed.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours84.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Revision of lectures and exam preparation

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Kahoot/Tophat style class MCQs at weeks 4 and 10. Instant feedback.
Opportunity to present/discuss relevant scientific literature in class in week 4 (student free choice of publication). Discussion of a peer reviewed manuscript with Q&A on the student’s understanding.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment5 hr 300 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

An open book essay (1000 words) from a choice of 3 titles.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/02/2023


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