A CANCER survivor has launched a support group for sugar addicts after learning of the ties between excess sugar and the deadly disease.

Jacqueline Carson, a former social worker, was diagnosed with breast cancer at 48 and underwent surgery to remove the tumour.

During this time, and after, she become increasingly aware of how unhealthy diets “feed” the disease.

“Finding out I had breast cancer was just a complete shock," the 54-year-old said.

"You just think you’re going to die.

"I had surgery but realised that what I was doing with my life, drinking red wine and smoking, it wasn’t good.

“As part of my treatment I was offered hypnotherapy, among other things, and it really helped.

"People think oh once you’ve had your treatment it’s over, but it’s not. After you’ve had something like that, what is going on emotionally is life changing.

“I started to understand the relationship with sugar during my treatment, and then more so after.

"I thought I was quite healthy because I didn’t eat chocolate or such, but I did have a lot of crisps. I didn’t realise how much sugar was in those.

“If I knew then what I know now, I would have still had the surgery to remove the tumour, but then would have just made dietary changes instead of having the treatment.

“Sugar feeds cancer – cancer can’t grow without it.”

After three years, Ms Carson went against doctor’s advice and stopped treatment, instead changing her lifestyle and diet. She is still in remission.

The Darlington woman has now set out to educate as many people as possible on the adverse effects of sugar, while generally advocating for a better understanding of food, helping people to make their own decisions.

“There are a lot of other things going on in the food and pharmaceutical industries that are really worrying,” the new vegan said.

“Red meat and processed food are bad for you too.

"Especially dairy, because it’s pumped with hormones," said Ms Carson, who had hormonal cancer and had to undergo a chemical menopause.

“People already know about the negative impact of alcohol and smoking, but they don’t know or understand problems with sugar. Just that excess makes your gain weight.

"I can help with sugar."

The support group, which is currently based on Facebook, has attracted a diverse range of members, some of whom are also cancer survivors.

As the group grows, weekly online chats will be held to encourage engagement and further education about on dietary issues, like if there is an alternative to sugar.

Ms Carson has spotted a similar group raising awareness about sugar, with more than 10,000 members, so expects success.

She is also writing an online programme for those who cannot afford hypnotherapy to help kick their sugar habit, through self-directed treatment.