Following cancer prevention guidelines reduces risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2011 Jun;20(6):1089-97. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-1173. Epub 2011 Apr 5.


Background: Few studies have evaluated the combined impact of following recommended lifestyle behaviors on cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality, and most included tobacco avoidance. Because 80% of Americans are never or former smokers, it is important to consider the impact of other recommended behaviors.

Methods: In 1992 and 1993, 111,966 nonsmoking men and women in the Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort completed diet and lifestyle questionnaires. A score ranging from 0 to 8 points was computed to reflect adherence to the American Cancer Society cancer prevention guidelines on body mass index, physical activity, diet, and alcohol consumption, with 8 points representing optimal adherence. Multivariable-adjusted relative risks (RR) of death and 95% CI were computed by Cox proportional hazard regression.

Results: During 14 years of follow-up, 10,369 men and 6,613 women died. The RR of all-cause mortality was lower for participants with high (7, 8) versus low (0-2) scores (men, RR = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.53-0.62; women, RR = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.52-0.64). Inverse associations were found with CVD mortality (men, RR = 0.52, 95% CI: 0.45-0.59; women, RR = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.35-0.51) and cancer mortality (men, RR = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.61-0.80; women, RR = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.65-0.89). Similar associations, albeit not all statistically significant, were observed for never and former smokers.

Conclusion: Adherence to cancer prevention guidelines for obesity, diet, physical activity, and alcohol consumption is associated with lower risk of death from cancer, CVD, and all causes in nonsmokers.

Impact: Beyond tobacco avoidance, following other cancer prevention guidelines may substantially lower risk of premature mortality in older adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Planning Guidelines*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Survival Rate