Prostate, breast and colorectal cancer are the most common tumours in Spain. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the association between adherence to nutrition-based guidelines for cancer prevention and prostate, breast and colorectal cancer, in the MCC-Spain case–control study. A total of 1,718 colorectal, 1,343 breast and 864 prostate cancer cases and 3,431 population-based controls recruited between 2007 and 2012, were included in the present study. The World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRC/AICR) score based on six recommendations for cancer prevention (on body fatness, physical activity, foods and drinks that promote weight gain, plant foods, animal foods and alcoholic drinks; score range 0–6) was constructed. We used unconditional logistic regression analysis adjusting for potential confounders. One-point increment in the WCRF/AICR score was associated with 25% (95% CI 19–30%) lower risk of colorectal, and 15% (95% CI 7–22%) lower risk of breast cancer; no association with prostate cancer was detected, except for cases with a Gleason score ≥7 (poorly differentiated/undifferentiated tumours) (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.76–0.99). These results add to the wealth of evidence indicating that a great proportion of common cancer cases could be avoided by adopting healthy lifestyle habits.