The present guidelines for preventing cancer issued by the American Cancer Society recommended that people avoid smoking, achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life, be physically active, and eat a healthy diet emphasizing plant foods. Geoffrey C Kabat, from Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York, USA), and colleagues completed a study involving 566,401 adults, ages 50 to 71 years at the study’s start, who were followed for nearly 14 years. Subjects were stratified into groups based on adherence to the American Cancer Society guidelines. Data analysis revealed that those men who adhered most closely to the guidelines had a reduced overall risk of developing cancer of 10%, as compared to men with the lowest adherence. For women, the corresponding reduction in overall cancer risk was 19%. Men with the highest adherence had a reduced risk of dying from cancer of 25% for women, the reduction was 24%. The researchers also examined the risk of developing cancer at 25 specific anatomic sites. They found 14 sites where people adhering most closely to the guidelines had reduced risks for developing cancer compared to those in the lowest-adherence group; most notably, gallbladder cancer (65% reduced risk, both sexes combined), endometrial cancer (60%), liver (48% among men) colon cancer (48% among men, 35% among women) and rectal cancer (40% among men, 36% amongv women). As for the risk of dying from all causes including cancer, men who adhered most closely to the guidelines had a reduced overall mortality risk of 26%, and women who adhered most closely were at 33% reduced overall mortality risk. The study authors submit that: “These data suggest that … adherence to a set of healthy behaviors may have considerable health benefits.”
Geoffrey C Kabat, Charles E Matthews, Victor Kamensky, Albert R Hollenbeck, Thomas E Rohan. “Adherence to cancer prevention guidelines and cancer incidence, cancer mortality, and total mortality: a prospective cohort study.” Am J Clin Nutr., January 7, 2015.