Fill your life with regular exercise and nutritious eating, and you could lower your risk of developing cancer by as much as 45%, a new evidence review concludes.
An article on WebMd.com, Healthy Living Slashes Cancer Risk, highlighted the findings of the review, including that people who followed cancer prevention guidelines for diet and activity were up to 61% less likely to die from cancer.
“Overall, we saw there is quite a reduction in getting cancer or dying from cancer if you follow [cancer-prevention] guidelines,” said lead researcher Lindsay Kohler, a doctoral student in epidemiology at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
A healthy lifestyle is particularly effective in preventing breast, endometrial, and colon cancer, Kohler and her colleagues discovered.
As part of background information provided by the researchers, nearly 1.7 million new cases of cancer were expected to occur in 2016. Around 596,000 people are expected to succumb to the disease.
Kohler and her team state that poor eating, consuming too much alcohol, being inactive, and carrying too much weight could account for more than 20% of cancer cases.
Understanding cancer-prevention guidelines by the American Cancer Society and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research
The cancer-prevention guideline outlined by these groups include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Choosing whole grains over refined grains
- Limiting consumption of processed or red meat
- Avoid excess alcohol
- Eating five or more servings of colorful fruits and vegetables daily
“The benefits really add up,” said Marjorie McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society. “The guidelines themselves are based on the current evidence of what we know to lower the risk of cancer. Each of these components are important. The more guidelines that are followed, the lower the cancer risk.”
Cancers that did not respond as well as the others
While it’s encouraging to know that natural approaches can reduce the risk of cancer, not all cancers responded the same way.
The guidelines listed above did not reduce the risk of prostate or ovarian cancers, and they seemed to only benefit men in regards to lung cancer.
Findings from the study were published online June 23, 2016 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
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