Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients

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The three legged stool

Weight, Diet and Exercise can help reduce cancer risk

Cutting your risk of cancer is no longer just about shunning tobacco. Be lean. Eat healthfully. Get active. Common-sense lifestyle strategies for lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes are now being shown to help prevent many types of cancer.

Healthy weight

Cancer is still a riddle, with many factors, including genetics, playing a role. But growing evidence suggests that there are steps that we can take to lower our chances of getting the disease.

American Cancer Society, urges careful attention to the “three-legged stool” of excess weight, poor diet and inadequate physical activity, which together are linked to between a quarter to a third of cancer cases.

A recent study found that women who followed the American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention lowered their risk significantly.

Those guidelines include maintaining a healthy weight, adopting a physically active lifestyle, consuming a healthful diet that emphasizes plant-based food, and limiting alcohol intake.

Data on more than 65,000 post-menopausal women tracked for more than 12 years found that compared with those who were least compliant with the ACS guidelines; the women who followed them most closely had a 17 percent lower risk of any cancer, a 22 percent lower risk of breast cancer and a 52 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight throughout life.


Being as lean as possible and maintaining a healthy weight are key components of cancer prevention. People should aim for body mass index (BMI) score of 18.5 to 24.9, according to the ACS.

  1. Get active.


Your level of physical activity may affect your risk of several kinds of cancers: breast, colon, endometrium and prostate, according to the ACS.

A sedentary lifestyle, coupled with overeating, can create an energy imbalance that causes abnormalities in the body. If you are in the habit of taking in too many calories compared with what you burn, this imbalance can spur metabolic and hormonal changes and inflammation that may fuel many diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes,

  1. Eat healthfully.


For preventing disease, the current trend is to think about the entire diet or dietary patterns, rather than the particulars of dozens of foods or nutrients.

The ACS recommends a diet rich in plants and whole-grain foods, especially one that controls calories consumed.

Cancer prevention experts also advise avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol, knowing your family history, being careful about sun exposure and getting age-appropriate screening.

They also suggest getting vaccinated against two major cancer-causing viruses: hepatitis B virus (HBV) linked to liver cancer, and human papillomavirus (HPV), which is linked to cervical and throat cancers.