Just adopting a healthy lifestyle by refraining from drinking alcohol and smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight and exercising regularly can help you keep deadly cancer at bay, new research reaffirms.
About 20-40 per cent of cancer cases could potentially be prevented through modifications to adopt a healthy lifestyle, the study found.
A large proportion of cancer cases and deaths can be prevented if people quit smoking, avoided heavy drinking, maintained a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 and 27.5 and got moderate weekly exercise for at least 150 minutes or vigorous exercise for at least 75 minutes, the study said.
The research, published online in the journal JAMA Oncology, analysed data from two study groups of White individuals to examine the associations between a ‘healthy lifestyle pattern’ and cancer incidence and death.
Mingyang Song and Edward Giovannucci from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, conducted the study that included 89,571 women and 46,399 men.
A ‘healthy lifestyle pattern’ was defined as never or past smoking; no or moderate drinking of alcohol – one or less drink a day for women, two or fewer drinks a day for men; BMI of at least 18.5 but lower than 27.5; and weekly aerobic physical activity of at least 150 minutes moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity.
Individuals who met all four criteria were considered low risk and everyone else was high risk, the researchers advised.
The results showed that 16,531 women and 11,731 had a healthy lifestyle pattern (low-risk group) and the remaining 73,040 women and 34,608 men were high risk.
The researchers estimated that 20-40 per cent of cancer cases and about half of cancer deaths could potentially be prevented through modifications to adopt the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group.
“These findings reinforce the predominant importance of lifestyle factors in determining cancer risk. Therefore, primary prevention should remain a priority for cancer control”, the authors noted.