The Link Between Cancer and Lifestyle Choices
We have long known that lifestyle choices do affect one’s risk of developing some forms of cancer. For example, the chances of developing lung cancer rise astronomically for the smoker. A person who has worked with asbestos has a much greater risk of developing mesothelioma than someone who has not. Common sense seems to dictate that the opposite should also be true. Adopting healthy lifestyle choices should reduce the risks of some kinds of cancer.
A study just recently published by the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms this commonsense hypothesis. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital looked at hundreds of thousands of different subjects to determine the link between carcinomas and lifestyle choices. The results were impressive. They concluded that adopting healthy lifestyle choices “could prevent the huge number of cancer cases and possibly save tens of thousands of lives,” according to ABC News.
Carcinomas and Lifestyle Choices
Researchers focused heavily on carcinomas for their study. Carcinomas represent a family of cancers that develop from epithelial cells. These are among the most aggressive, invasive, and common cancers in the U.S.
For their study, researchers recruited 89,571 Caucasian women and 46,399 Caucasian men divided into two groups. Researchers looked at a number of things including smoking and drinking habits, body mass index, exercise levels, and medical histories. They then applied all of their healthy lifestyle standards to create both low and high-risk groups.
Researchers found that approximately 20% to 40% of carcinoma cases could likely be prevented through lifestyle modifications. Furthermore, as many as 50% of carcinoma deaths can also be prevented. Though their findings were pretty solid, researchers have said that their conclusions are by no means absolute. They are calling for additional studies to confirm what they have found.
“These findings reinforce the predominant importance of lifestyle factors in determining cancer risk,” the researchers wrote in their report. “Therefore, primary prevention should remain a priority for cancer control.”
Five Simple Things You Can Do
Cancer is an unfortunate part of the world we live in. However, you do not have to take your chances and hope you don’t develop one of the forms of this devastating disease. Here are five simple things you can do that will reduce your risks of carcinoma:
- Lose Excess Weight – Lose any excess weight in addition to striving for a body mass index of between 18.5 and 24.9.
- Exercise Regularly – Make a point of getting at least 10 to 20 minutes of moderate exercise 5 to 6 days per week.
- Eat a Healthy Diet – Develop healthy eating habits by focusing on fresh foods and dietary balance.
- Learn to Cook – Studies have shown that cooking at home leads to healthier eating and easier weight maintenance.
- Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol – Obviously, you should not smoke – period. Furthermore, avoid alcohol as best you can. If you are going to drink, consume no more than one drink per day.
By making a concerted effort to live a healthier lifestyle, you can likely reduce the chances that you will develop a future carcinoma. You will experience a longer and more fulfilling life enjoying your family, your friends, and all those things you love to do.