High-Quality Diet May Decrease Mortality Risk in Cancer Survivors

Highest Healthy Eating Index scores associated with decreased overall and cancer-specific mortality
Highest Healthy Eating Index scores associated with decreased overall and cancer-specific mortality

HealthDay News — High-quality diets are associated with decreased risks of overall and cancer-specific mortality among cancer survivors, according to a study published online June 5 in JNCI Cancer Spectrum.

Ashish A. Deshmukh, PhD, MPH, from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues examined the relationship between quality of diet and overall and cancer-specific mortality among 1,191 cancer survivors participating in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Higher Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores indicated better adherence to dietary recommendations. 

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The researchers found that 607 cancer-specific deaths occurred over the median follow-up period of 17.2 years. Scores in the highest HEI quartile, indicating a high-quality diet, were associated with decreased risk of overall (hazard ratio, 0.59) and cancer-specific (hazard ratio, 0.35) mortality vs the lowest HEI quartile (poor-quality diet). Among individual dietary components, the highest-quartile score for saturated fat intake was associated with lower cancer-specific mortality (hazard ratio, 0.55).

"Our results highlight the importance of a 'total diet' approach to improving survival among cancer patients," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Gilead and Merck.

Abstract/Full Text