Diet, regular exercise are paramount in cancer prevention

While screenings to promote early cancer diagnosis are significant, experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center suggest that healthy nutrition and exercise have just as much, if not more, impact on lowering cancer risks and mortality rates.

“Whether one wants to prevent 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,” says Dr. Jo Ann Carson, a clinical nutritionist at UT Southwestern.

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 UT Southwestern, groundbreaking work is being spearheaded by the Taskforce for Obesity Research, a collaborative effort of various medical disciplines including genetics, endocrinology, nutrition, and metabolism. The National Institutes of Health awarded investigators 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. The NIH recently predicted that trends in obesity, if left unchecked, will lead to about 500,000 additional cancer cases in the U.S. by 2030.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/nutrition to learn more about research and clinical services in nutrition at UT Southwestern.

Media Contact: Remekca Owens

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