Diet, exercise key to cancer prevention

June 30, 2012 at 7:58 PM
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DALLAS, June 30 (UPI) -- Healthy nutrition and exercise have just as much, if not more, impact on lowering cancer risks and mortality rates as screening, a U.S. nutritionist says.

Dr. Jo Ann Carson, a clinical nutritionist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said whether a person wants to avoid cancer or prevent its return, it is wise to move toward a healthy weight.

"Do so by combining a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains with regular physical activity," Carson said in a statement. "Maintaining an energy-balanced diet is not only a good preventive measure, but also benefits patients after cancer treatment, especially in breast and colon cancer cases."

At Southwestern, groundbreaking work is being spearheaded by the Task Force for Obesity Research, a collaborative effort of various medical disciplines including genetics, endocrinology, nutrition and metabolism, Carson said.

The National Institutes of Health awarded researchers at the medical center a $22 million grant in 2007 to enhance efforts to attack obesity from every angle, from studying fat cells to developing medicines.

"Previous studies have linked obesity to higher rates of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers. Obesity also is associated with increased risks of kidney, gallbladder, thyroid and pancreatic cancers, among others," Carson said. "The National Institute of Health recently predicted that trends in obesity, if left unchecked, will lead to about 500,000 additional cancer cases in the United States by 2030."

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