American Cancer Society Guideline for Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention

This is a condensed version of the article describing the American Cancer Society (ACS) Guideline for Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention. The full article (including references), which is written for health care professionals, is available online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians at: https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21591

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States, behind only heart disease. People with cancer also often experience physical effects (from the cancer itself and from treatment), distress, and a lower quality of life. Quality of life can also be affected for family members, caregivers, and friends of people with cancer.

For most Americans who do not use tobacco, the most important cancer risk factors that can be changed are body weight, diet, and physical activity. At least 18% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are related to excess body weight, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition, and thus could be prevented.

Along with avoiding tobacco products, staying at a healthy weight, staying active throughout life, and eating a healthy diet may greatly reduce a person's lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer. These same behaviors are also linked with a lower risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

Although these healthy choices can be made by each of us, they can be helped or slowed by the social, physical, economic, and regulatory environment in which we live. Community efforts are needed to create an environment that makes it easier for us to make healthy choices when it comes to diet and physical activity.