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7 factors for a healthier lifestyle could reduce cancer risk by 16%

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 3 months ago

According to a recent study published in Biomed Central, modifiable lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise can significantly reduce the risk of cancer. The study found that individuals who followed the lifestyle recommendations made by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) had a lower risk of developing all types of cancer, as well as specific types such as breast, colorectal, and ovarian cancer.

The research, conducted by Dr. Fiona Malcomson, a Lecturer in Human Nutrition at Newcastle University, and her team, utilized data from the UK Biobank, a prospective health study with over half a million participants. Participants were assigned a score based on how well they adhered to the WCRF/AICR recommendations, which included maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and limiting consumption of processed foods, red meat, and sugar.

The findings of the study demonstrated that for each point increase in adherence to the recommendations, overall cancer risk decreased by 7%. Site-specific cancers, such as breast and colorectal cancer, showed even greater reductions in risk with each point increase.

Dr. Lidia Schapira, a Professor of Oncology at Stanford University, commented on the study, stating that it is exciting to see that promoting or adhering to recommended lifestyle changes can be protective against cancer. She emphasized the importance of making manageable and positive changes, focusing on one or two recommendations at a time.

The WCRF/AICR recommendations were updated in 2018 and include maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, limiting consumption of processed foods, red meat, and sugar, avoiding sugary beverages, limiting alcohol consumption, and not relying on supplements to prevent cancer.

While the study's findings suggest a strong association between lifestyle changes and reduced cancer risk, it is important to note that the study's observational nature prevents establishing a direct causal relationship. Nonetheless, the results highlight the potential impact of lifestyle modifications in reducing the risk of cancer.

In conclusion, adopting a healthier lifestyle by following the WCRF/AICR recommendations can significantly lower the risk of developing cancer. Even small steps, such as cutting out sugary drinks and incorporating more exercise, can make a difference in reducing cancer risk. It is important for individuals to focus on manageable changes and approach them incrementally to increase the likelihood of long-term success.

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