Good news for women who follow medical guidelines to eat healthy and exercise to prevent cancer: It works.
Not only did postmenopausal women who followed cancer prevention guidelines from the American Cancer Society have a lower risk for cancer incidence, but they also had a lower risk for death related to cancer, according to a new study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
“The message is simple and clear: If you want to reduce your risk for cancer, even later in life, eat a healthy diet, be active daily, avoid or limit alcohol, and don’t smoke,” said Cynthia Thomson, Ph.D., R.D., professor of public health at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Our results support the ACS guidelines for cancer prevention. Certainly, efforts to identify complementary factors that can reduce risk further should be supported as well, because diet and activity alone do not account for the majority of risk.”
The study’s findings showed that postmenopausal women who have greater adherence to cancer prevention guidelines demonstrate a 17 percent lower risk for cancer incidence, a 20 percent lower risk for cancer-related death and a 27 percent lower risk for death from all causes.
“We found that the association was stronger for Asian, African-American, and Hispanic women, compared with non-Hispanic white women,” Thomson said. “It is possible that different ethnic groups may have differential disease course with varied response to environmental and/or behavioral exposures.
The ACS guidelines for cancer prevention include four behavior-associated measures:
Thomson and colleagues analyzed data from more than 65,800 postmenopausal women age 50-79 who were enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study between 1993 and 1998 at 40 clinical centers across the United States.
Source: American Association for Cancer Research
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