About 35% (10-70%) of all cancers may be associated with nutritional causes (1). However, while natural or added substances in foods may be carcinogenic, nutritional deficiencies or excesses may promote carcinogenesis. We compared data from blacks and whites using dietary and nutritional status surveys in the United States to determine whether the poorer dietary patterns and nutritional status of American blacks may be associated with their higher incidence and mortality from certain cancers (compared with whites). Our review indicates that blacks eat more nitrate and animal foods and not enough fiber in relation to protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Blacks also have poorer nutritional status with respect to getting enough thiamine, riboflavin, vitamins A and C, and iron, to being obese (females), and to being underweight (males). This is in agreement with hypotheses regarding the interactions between diet and cancer (associations found in whites) and dose-response relationships reported for some cancers for which blacks have a higher incidence and mortality than whites. More large-scale prospective case-control and cohort studies are needed in both blacks and whites to elucidate the contribution of specific dietary and nutritional factors to the risk of specific cancers in these population groups. However, such studies must be preceded by methodological research to obtain more valid measures of dietary and nutritional status.