Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nutrition and Cancer Prevention

Nutrition plays a key role in cancer prevention.  Diet and nutrition could be the cause of at least 30% of cancer cases, putting diet in second place next to smoking as preventable causes of cancer [1].  This one is quite an eye opener, who thought 30% of all cancers could have been prevented with proper nutrition?

According to current research, numerous types of cancer can be prevented by adopting a healthy diet.  For starters, over weight and obesity have been strongly linked to esophagus, colorectum, breast in postmenopausal women, endometrial and kidney cancer [2].  Alcohol has been shown to increase the risk of oral, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver and breast cancer while exposure to aflatoxin causes liver cancer and Chinese-style salted fish has been link to nasopharyx cancer [2].   Additionally, preserved and red meat may increase the risk of colorectal cancer while salty foods could increase the risk of stomach cancer.  On a happier note, some evidence shows that fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of oral cavity, esophagus, stomach and colorectal cancers and physical activity may decrease the risk of breast and colon cancer [2].  Taking appropriate steps to a healthier diet and lifestyle could reduce an individual’s risk of multiple cancers dramatically.

In an attempt to decrease cancer incidences the American Cancer Society (ACS) publishes an updated list of guidelines every 5 years.  According to the latest guidelines the ACS encourages people to maintain a healthy weight; in other words their body-mass index should be between 18.5 and 24.9 [1].  The ACS also advocates eating 5 or more serving fruits and vegetables on a daily basis in addition to whole grains and limiting consumption of processed meat, red meat and alcohol [1].  These changes are possible by taking one small step at a time.  You will feel better and be healthier while decreasing your risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  What more could you ask for?  Go Nutrition!



1.            Kushi, L.H., et al., American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention: Reducing the Risk of Cancer With Healthy Food Choices and Physical Activity. CA A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 2006. 56(5): p. 254-281.

2.            Key, T., et al., Diet, nutrition and the prevention of cancer. Public Health Nutrition, 2007. 7(1a): p. 187-200.


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