A new observational study published by Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has revealed that following American Cancer Society guidelines may reduce your risk of developing cancer. Staying active and having a healthy body weight were associated with the most effective cancer preventative strategy.
The purpose of the study was to investigate the impact of the American Cancer Society guidelines which recommend that people avoid smoking, achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life, be physically active, and eat a healthy diet emphasizing plant foods.
The researchers divided the study participants into five groups based on how closely they adhered to the ACS guidelines. Men who adhered most closely to the guidelines had a reduced overall risk of developing cancer of 10 percent compared to men with the lowest adherence. For women, the corresponding reduction in overall cancer risk was 19 percent. Men with the highest adherence had a reduced risk of dying from cancer of 25 percent; for women, the reduction was 24 percent.
The study collected questionnaires from more than 500,000 people, from the National Institute of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study, that asked about various aspects of diet and lifestyle. Study participants were between the ages of 50 and 71 at the time of enrollment. They were followed for a median of 10.5 years to determine cancer incidence, 12.6 years to determine cancer mortality and 13.6 years to determine total mortality.
“The guidelines made sense for overall health, but it was an open question whether they would have an impact on cancer outcomes,” said lead author Geoffrey Kabat, Ph.D., senior epidemiologist in the department of epidemiology & population health at Einstein. “Our findings suggest that it’s worth the effort to adhere to the ACS guidelines, and that the closer you follow the guidelines, the greater the benefit for preventing certain types of cancer.”