Healthy lifestyle could cut one third of common cancers

March 7, 2009 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News

Healthy lifestyle could cut one third of common cancers

Healthier living could prevent about one third of the most common cancers in rich countries and about one quarter in poorer ones, international researchers said last week.

A healthy diet, regular exercise and controlling weight could also prevent more than 40 percent of colon and breast cancer cases in some countries, according to the study which urged governments and individuals to do more to cut the number of global cancer deaths each year.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, roughly 11 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer and nearly eight million people die from cancer each year.

However, cancer is mostly preventable.

The study involved 23 experts who analyzed both the incidence of 12 common cancers across the world and data on diet, exercise and weight to see how these factors contributed to kidney, mouth, lung, gallbladder and the other cancers.

The researchers found that healthier living would prevent 43 percent of colon cancer cases and 42 percent of breast cancer cases in Britain, and 45 percent of bowel cancer and 38 percent of breast cancer cases in the United States.

They recommended -- in line with what health experts, including governments and the U.N. World Health Organization, have long been advising -- that people follow diets based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains and go easy on red meats, dairy products and fats.

The team also looked at China and Brazil as representatives of low- and middle-income countries, respectively.

Overall improving diet, exercise and weight would in the United States prevent more than a third of the 12 most common cancers -- which also included stomach, womb (uterus), prostate, pancreas and esophagus tumors.

This amounted to 39 percent of the cancers in Britain, 30 percent in Brazil and 27 percent in China.

This report shows that making relatively straightforward changes can significantly reduce the number of cancer cases around the world.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.