A Healthy Lifestyle Can Prevent Many Cancer Cases
A new large-scale US study has found that many cancer cases and deaths in individuals could be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle.
The team of researchers, from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, looked at data from 2 study groups of White participants to examine the possible associations between a “healthy lifestyle pattern” and the rate of cancer cases and deaths from the disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
They defined a “healthy lifestyle pattern” as being a non-smoker or ex-smoker; no alcohol or moderate drinking of alcohol meaning 1 or less drink a day for women, 2 or less drinks a day for men; having a BMI of between 18.5 and 27.5, and partaking in moderate exercise for at least 150 mins a week or vigorous exercise for at least 75 mins a week.
The authors then compared the number of cancer cases and cancer deaths between the two study groups and against the US population to estimate the proportion of cancer that could be prevented in the high-risk group if individuals adopted the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group, and the proportion that could be prevented in the US population.
Their results showed that around 20 to 40% of cancer cases and around 50 percent of cancer deaths could potentially be prevented through making lifestyle changes and adopting the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group.
The authors acknowledged that as their study included only white individuals, the same results may not be found other ethnic groups. However the lifestyle factors that were considered to be cancer risk factors in this study have also been found to be risk factors in other ethnic groups in previous studies.
Commenting on the results the authors emphasized the importance of lifestyle factors in determining the risk of cancer, and advised that adopting a healthier way of living and focusing on prevention “should remain a priority for cancer control.”
The study was published online in the journal JAMA Oncology.
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