Half of Cancer Deaths Preventable with Four Behaviors

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, tens of thousands of cancer deaths every year could be prevented with the adoption of a few healthy behaviors or lifestyle choices.

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School looked at the data on about 135,000 people who were enrolled in cohort studies and broke them into two groups. Those who “checked the box” of no current smoking, moderate or no alcohol consumption, a BMI between 18.5 and 27.5, and at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise (or 75 minutes of intense exercise) per week were labeled the “healthy lifestyle” group.

The researchers then compared cancer rates between the two groups, the “healthy lifestyle” group and everybody else.

The researchers concluded that 20-40% of common cancer cases—and about half of all cancer deaths—would be prevented by following those four simple mandates.

Interestingly, these are the same four behaviors that were found to significantly lower the likelihood of heart attacks in a different study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The authors of that study suggest that doing these four things could effectively prevent four out of five coronary events in men. There isn’t a drug in the world that can do that.

So when nutrition and lifestyle choices become overwhelming, and you’re not sure who to believe, here are four behaviors that just about everyone agrees on and that can make an enormous difference in your health:

  1. Don’t smoke
  2. Consume only moderate amounts of alcohol (or none at all)
  3. Maintain a healthy weight
  4. Exercise moderately for 150 minutes a week (or intensely for 75)

It’s not often that the evidence is so clear and unanimous about simple behaviors that can literally extend your life and increase the number of years you stay healthy.



1 Comment

  1. Sandra

    How does this apply to childhood brain cancer?