Cancer Prevention Guideline Adherence Found to Reduce Incidence, Mortality

Diet and physical activity found to decrease the risk of developing multiple cancer types.

New recommendations on diet and physical activity for cancer prevention were recently published by leading cancer organizations, including the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR).

For the study, researchers examined studies published within the past 10 years that analyzed adherence to ACS and the WCRF/AICR guidelines. The final review was based on 12 prospective cohort studies that researched cancer incidence and mortality.

At baseline, participants ranged from 25- to 79-years-old, who were mostly Caucasian. Although consistent patterns emerged through the study, the standards for adherence did vary among the 12 studies, and lead to a wide range of results.

The results of the review showed that adherence to cancer prevention guidelines was associated with reduction in cancer incidence by 10 to 45%, and a reduction in mortality by 14 to 61%.

Additionally, researchers found 19% to 60% reduced incidence in breast cancer, 23% to 60% reduction in endometrial cancer, and 27% to 52% reduction in colorectal cancer.

There were no significant associations found between adherence to cancer prevention guidelines and the incidence of prostate or ovarian cancer. For lung cancer, the associations varied amongst the studies.

When researchers compared high adherence and low adherence to the guidelines, they found that people who had higher adherence to the cancer prevention guidelines derived stronger benefits.

One study showed a woman who followed at least 5 recommendations was found to be 60% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not meet any of the recommendations. For each additional recommendation met, the risk of breast cancer dropped by 11%.

“If you adhere to these guidelines, you may reduce your risk of getting or dying from cancer, though the risk is not totally eliminated,” said researcher Lindsay N. Kohler. “However, following these recommendations will lead to healthier lives overall and, in turn, reduce the risk for many major diseases.

“Behaviors such as poor diet choices, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption and unhealthy body weight could account for more than 20% of cancer cases, and could, therefore, be prevented with lifestyle modifications.”