It may come as no surprise to many natural health disciplinarians that cancer is largely an avoidable disease that develops and advances due to poor lifestyle habits adopted over the course of a lifetime. Researchers from Britain have found that more than 100,000 cancer cases, nearly one in four cancers diagnosed, could have been prevented by following simple lifestyle changes.
Lead study author Dr. Max Parkin, a cancer epidemiologist based at Queen Mary, University of London publishing on the journal Nature remarked “Looking at all the evidence, it's clear that around 40 percent of all cancers are caused by things we mostly have the power to change.” Controlling behaviors such as smoking, unhealthy eating, alcohol consumption and being overweight provide a significant shield against the number two killer of adults worldwide.
Nearly 45% of All Cancers Are Preventable Through Lifestyle Modifications
Researchers from the UK analyzed data from cancer cases occurring between 1993 and 2007. The study was designed to determine the proportion that could be attributed to the following 14 risk factors: drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, insufficient fruits and vegetables in the diet, not eating enough fiber, consuming red and processed meat, excess salt consumption, being overweight or obese, not exercising, infections (such as HPV), sunlight exposure, radiation exposure, chemical exposure. Specifically for women, the scientists examined not breastfeeding and undergoing hormone replacement therapy.
The study provided some predictable results that follow along with the lifestyle pattern of many western cultures. Thirty-four percent of the cancers were found to be linked to smoking, diet, alcohol and excess weight. One in 25 of cancers are linked to a person's job, such as being exposed to chemicals or asbestos. Certain cancer risk factors were found to favor either men or women more prominently.
Lack of Fruits and Vegetables Directly Contributes to Cancer Progression
Insufficient consumption of fruits and vegetables was found to contribute to nearly 6% of the cancers in men, yet was a factor in only 3.4% of the women. Conversely, overweight and obesity played a significant role in risk for 7% of cancers in women versus only 4.1% in the men analyzed. Lead author Parkin noted “We didn't expect to find that eating fruit and vegetables would prove to be so important in protecting men against cancer… and among women we didn't expect being overweight to have a greater effect that alcohol."
The authors of this study concluded that 45% of the cancers found in men could be prevented by altering one or more of the fourteen identified risk factors, along with 40% of all cancers in women. Many health-minded individuals already maintain a natural and healthy diet, and avoid smoking and processed meats. Make note of the 14 identified cancer risk factors to prevent cancer and a host of life-threatening chronic diseases.