Cancer Prevention Guidelines

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) have established guidelines that they say could significantly reduce the risk of dying prematurely. The results of a study described in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (online 03-04-13) suggests that following these guidelines really works!

European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study

Cancer Prevention Guidelines

A team of European researchers examined data from 378,864 people, which included men and women between the ages of 25 and 70.

During the study (1992-2000) men were scored on their adherence to six WCRF/AICR recommendations (see image to the left). Women were scored on the same criteria, with the addition of breastfeeding their infants for up to six months.

Over a median of 12.8 years, 23,828 deaths occurred.

  • Among men whose scores were highest at 5-6 points and women who scored 6-7 points, the risk of dying over follow-up was 34 percent less than those whose scores were lowest at 0-2 points for men and 0-3 points for women
  • The reduction was greatest for respiratory disease, followed by circulatory disease and cancer
  • Each point increase was associated with a 13 percent lower risk of dying over the follow-up period

“Results of this study suggest that following WCRF/AICR recommendations could significantly increase longevity,” authors Anne-Claire Vergnaud and colleagues conclude.

My Thoughts

I think, for the most part, these guidelines are very doable. Here’s my take:

  • Daily physical activity is certainly a healthy habit you want to cultivate, and this coupled with choosing high quality, nutrient-dense foods will ensure your body maintains a healthy weight
  • Avoid energy-dense, nutrient-less items masquerading as food – they are highly addictive and wreak havoc with your taste buds, waistline and cellular vitality
  • Definitely load up on plants – 7 servings a day, plenty of variety, preferably in season (better for you and your budget too)
  • Processed meats are a veritable Pandora’s box of chemicals so avoid those as much as possible…. But, I should mention I am a fan of Hungarian salami (preferably accompanied with olives, semi-dried tomatoes and fine cheese… but I digress) so on those occasions I take probiotics to help counter the nitrosamines that are used to preserve the meat (linked to bowel cancer in case you didn’t know)
  • I’m not so worried about red meat – just choose organic, grass-fed – and aim to keep it to 2-3 times a week
  • Limiting alcoholic beverages is always a good idea – your liver will love you for it (and in turn your hormones, skin, and well… everything). Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful glass of Chardonnay, but too much/too often is a source of empty calories and a toxic burden to the body
  • If you can manage it, breast is best

Tell me, which of these guidelines do you already follow?

Are there any that stand out to you that might be tough to follow?

Leave a comment below and let me know!


[Source: LEF. Adherence to cancer-preventive guidelines lowers risk of dying over 12.8 year period. April 19, 2013.]

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