March 31, 2016

Cancer prevention and poverty

A new epidemiological study supports smoking cessation and avoidance of sedentary lifestyle as cancer prevention measures.

Interested in how cancer prevention recommendations play out in low-income populations, epidemiologist Shaneda Warren Anderson, Ph.D., and colleagues analyzed data from 61,098 adults, with overrepresentation of low-income whites and African-Americans.

The team measured adherence to American Cancer Society (ACS) recommendations regarding body mass index, physical activity, diet, alcohol intake and smoking status, and they gathered other clinical data and demographic data. During a median follow-up period of six years, there were 2,240 cancers diagnosed in the group.

As reported in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, adherence to the ACS guideline to stay away from tobacco was strongly associated with lower cancer risk. Also, in individuals without chronic disease at baseline, a score that summarized adherence to guidelines for nutrition and physical activity was significantly associated with reduced cancer risk.

“These data provide support for the promotion of healthful behaviors, especially smoking cessation and avoidance of sedentary lifestyle, as cancer prevention measures,” said study co-author Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D.

Warren Anderson and Zheng were joined in the study by William Blot, PhD, Xiao-Ou Shu, MD, PhD, and researchers from Meharry Medical College and International Epidemiology Institute. The study, which used data from the Southern Community Cohort Study, was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (CA092447).

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