UK researchers claim living a healthy lifestyle before diagnosis could improve a person’s chances of surviving bowel cancer.
Findings from Imperial College London suggest eating a balanced diet, keeping physically active and maintaining a healthy weight were associated with an improved likelihood of survival.
The large European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, published in BMC Medicine, analysed data from 520,000 men and women from 10 countries over six years. Of these men and women from the study, 3,292 were diagnosed with bowel cancer.
Lead researcher, Dora Romaguera, from Imperial College London wanted to investigate if the same healthy lifestyle choices that help prevent bowel cancer could also improve the survival rates of people diagnosed with the disease.
The study participants completed questionnaires about their medical history, diet and lifestyle at the start of the study, while height and weight measurements were also taken.
Having a healthy weight and high consumption of plant foods had the strongest associations with survival. There was also an association seen with women who breastfed and improved survival.
Reference: Romaguera et al. Pre-diagnostic concordance with the WCRF/AICR guidelines and survival in European colorectal cancer patients: a cohort study BMC Medicine (2015) 13:107