The Y nutrition guide: Following these diet recommendations, plus being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight, can go far in helping prevent cancer. For a simpler rule of thumb, you can also follow the advice of Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." According to the American Cancer Society, almost 1.7 million new cancer cases and more than 600,000 cancer-related deaths are projected to occur in the United States this year, 2017.