HealthDay News — Colon cancer patients might improve their odds of survival if they eat nuts along with consuming an overall healthy diet and getting regular exercise, according to two studies scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, to be held from June 2 to 6 in Chicago.

The first study involved 826 patients with stage III colon cancer who had received surgery and chemotherapy. They all filled out diet questionnaires, including questions regarding their nut consumption. The patients were followed for about 7 years after completing chemotherapy. Nearly 1 in 5 patients (19%) said they ate at least 2 ounces of nuts a week, and researchers found both a lower risk of cancer recurrence and higher overall survival in that group. Further analysis revealed that peanuts and peanut butter (from the legume family) did not provide any benefit. 

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The second study also focused on stage III colon cancer patients after chemotherapy. Researchers surveyed 992 patients about their lifestyles, scoring them against recommendations in the American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors. Half were followed up to seven years, and half longer.

The researchers found that patients who adhered closely to the guidelines regarding exercise, diet, and excess weight had a 42% lower mortality risk than those who didn’t. When drinking was included in the analysis, patients strictly following the American Cancer Society’s lifestyle guidelines had a 51% lower mortality risk and a 36% lower risk of cancer recurrence.

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