Cancer Incidence and Death Could Be Prevented by Healthy Lifestyle

Approximately half of all cancer deaths may be preventable by behavior modifications.

A healthy lifestyle may serve as a preventative measure in cancer incidence and deaths, a study published in JAMA Oncology revealed.

The healthy lifestyle pattern was defined as not being a smoker currently or in the past; no or moderate drinking of alcohol (1 or less drinks daily for women, 2 or less drinks daily for men); a body mass index of a least 18.5 but lower than 27.5; and weekly aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity.

The goal of the study was to examine the association between a healthy lifestyle pattern and cancer incidence and death.

The study used 89,571 women and 46,399 men who were divided into low risk (healthy lifestyle pattern) and high risk groups. There were 16,531 women and 11,731 men in the low-risk group and 73,040 women and 34,608 men in the high risk group.

Researchers calculated population-attributable risk (PAR), which is the proportion of cases that wouldn’t occur if individuals in the low-risk group adopted the healthy lifestyle pattern.

Approximately 20 to 40% of cancers and about half of cancer deaths may potential be prevented through modifications by adopting a healthy lifestyle in the low-risk group, the researchers suggested.

Although only white participants were involved in the study, their PAR estimates might not be generalizable to other ethnic groups, according to the study. However, these factors have been established as risk factors in diverse ethnic groups, as well.

“These findings reinforce the predominate importance of lifestyle factors in determining cancer risk,” the study authors wrote. “Therefore, primary prevention should remain a priority for cancer control.”