Two new studies report that colon cancer patients can improve their chances of survival post-treatment if they strictly follow a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and eat a good portion of nuts weekly.

The results of the study come from a seven-year survey and observations on lifestyles of colon cancer survivors who have been operated on and have undergone postsurgical chemotherapy. The researchers found that colon-cancer survivors with healthy lifestyles were able to live longer, with some even managing to prevent a recurrence of the disease.

Here are some details of the two studies.

On Prevention Through Healthy Lifestyle

The study, which involved 992 colon cancer patients from 1999 to 2001, noted there were 335 recorded cancer recurrences which claimed the lives of 256 participants, while 43 patients passed away without a recurrence.

There was a 42 percent lower risk for death and a 31 percent reduced risk of recurrence among the 91 patients who strictly followed a healthy lifestyle.

Tech Times also reported on the study in more detail.

Nuts vs. Colon Cancer

Another interesting study reveals that stage 3 colon cancer survivors who ate a healthy diet, along with a serving of nuts, weekly also experienced a reduced risk in colon cancer recurrence and an increased chance of survival from the disease.

The researchers noted that one in five patients claimed they ate at least 2 ounces (56.7 grams) of nuts weekly and those same patients reaped the benefits of the nuts.

Before heading out to the supermarket, however, know that not all nuts are effective in helping patients. In fact, the nuts which provided more health benefits all involved tree nuts — pistachios, walnuts, and cashews, among others. Researchers also found that peanuts and peanut butter had no effect on the disease and do not benefit the patient, so PB&J will not do anything to help improve a patient's condition.

The researchers speculated that the difference in health benefits could be due to the nuts' composition.

"This difference [in benefit] may be due to the different biochemical composition between peanuts and tree nuts," Dr. Temidayo Fadelu said. Dr. Fadelu is a Dana-Farber clinical fellow and the lead researcher for the study.

Experts Warn Against Hasty Generalization

While the two studies show promising results by following strict health guidelines, experts warn patients about relying on these and similar studies alone to fight off colon cancer.

Dr. Daniel Hayes, clinical director of breast oncology at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, says that chemotherapy is still an important treatment for cancer and should not be avoided.

"Chemotherapy clearly saves lives," Dr. Hayes said.

The two studies will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology in June and should not be considered conclusive until peer reviewed and published in a medical journal.

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