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Following a Healthy Diet and Avoiding Alcohol May Reduce Overall Cancer Risk


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The World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research has estimated that in developed countries, about 35% of breast cancers and 45% of colorectal cancers could be prevented with better adherence to nutritional recommendations. A large prospective study evaluating adherence to nutritional scores used by four organizations and their association with decreased cancer risk has found that a diet emphasizing healthy eating, physical activity, and alcohol avoidance was linked with a decrease in overall cancer risk, as well as a reduced risk in breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. The four organizations include the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research score, the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010, a score based on adherence to the Mediterranean diet, and the French National Nutrition Health Program-Guideline Score. The study by Lavalette et al was published in Cancer Research.1

About NutriNet-Santé Study

To examine the links between the four nutritional indices and cancer risk, the researchers analyzed data from the NutriNet-Santé study,2 launched in 2009 to investigate the associations between nutrition and health in a French cohort. The study included 41,543 participants aged 40 and older who had not been diagnosed with cancer prior to inclusion in the study. Between 2009 and 2017, 1,489 overall cases of cancer were diagnosed in the study participants, including 488 breast cancers, 222 prostate cancers, and 118 colorectal cancers.

The participants completed questionnaires about their educational level, smoking status, alcohol consumption, occupation, dietary intakes, physical activity, and health status. They also completed Web-based dietary records every 6 months to detail all foods and beverages consumed during a 24-hour period.

Multivariable Cox proportional hazard models were used, with age as the primary time variable, to characterize the associations between each nutritional score and overall cancer risk by generating hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Distinct models were used to assess the associations between each of the four nutritional scores and breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer risks.

Study Findings

The researchers’analyses found that a 1-point increment in the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research score was significantly associated with decreased overall risks, with a 12% decrease in overall cancer risk, a 14% decrease in breast cancer risk, and a 12% decrease in prostate cancer risk.

The World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that in developed countries, about 35% of breast cancers and 45% of colorectal cancers could be avoided with better adherence to nutritional recommendations. Following dietary recommendations, such as those proposed by the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research, could contribute to cancer prevention.

“This large prospective population-based cohort study suggests that following dietary recommendations, such as the ones proposed by the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research, could significantly contribute to cancer prevention,” concluded the study researchers.

Bernard Srour, PharmD, MPH, of the Sorbonne Paris Cité; Epidemiology and Statistics Research Center, is the corresponding author of the study. ■

DISCLOSURE: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest. The study was funded by the French Ministry of Health, the French Agency for Public Health (Santé Publique France), the Région Ile-de-France, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research INRA, the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, University of Paris 13, Cancéropôle Ile de France, and the French National Cancer Institute.

REFERENCES

1. Lavalette C, Adjibade M, Srour B, et al: Cancer-specific and general nutritional scores and cancer risk: Results from the prospective NutriNet-Santé cohort. Cancer Res. July 26, 2018 (early release online).

2. Official website of the NutriNet-Sante Study. Available at https://info.etude-nutrinet-sante.fr/en/node/2. Accessed July 30, 2018.


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