Cancer prevention--behavior changes: the short and the long of it

Prev Med. 1993 Sep;22(5):676-88. doi: 10.1006/pmed.1993.1061.


Background: Behavioral factors play an important role in the adoption and maintenance of nutritional modifications, delivered either through chemopreventive regimens or through dietary adaptation. A body of research supports a protective role of fruits and vegetables, dietary fiber, and eating a low-fat diet in reducing cancer risk. There is only limited knowledge, however, about the cancer-preventing properties of specific micronutrients, apart from beta-carotene; about optimal levels of intake of differing micronutrients; and about patterns of food intake associated with reduced cancer risk. Thus, it would seem preferable, overall, to be able to recommend cancer prevention through dietary modification rather than through the administration of individual agents.

Methods: Studies of dietary adherence in cancer prevention have yielded varying success rates, but are generally quite promising. We have developed a model that encompasses the range of behavioral, psychological, social, and systemic variables thought to influence adherence to nutritional regimens.

Results: The model is being utilized to influence the form and content of nutritional regimens and to promote short-term change which can then be sustained as long-term lifestyle modification. The model can also be applied to evaluate adherence to nutritional or other behavioral modifications and to determine the factors predictive of success.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Attitude to Health
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diet
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Risk Factors


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents