Half Of Cancer Deaths Could Be Prevented If People Just Quit Their Bad Habits

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald May 20, 05:00 am

Half of cancer deaths in the U.S. could be prevented if people just refrained from their bad habits and vices. Researchers found that people are responsible for their own chances of developing cancer, rather than chemicals, pollution and other aspects.

A research team from Harvard Medical School found that 20 to 40 percent of cancer cases and half of cancer deaths could be prevented if people refrain from bad habits. That includes smoking, heavy drinking, overeating and refraining from doing regular moderate exercises, NBC News listed.


Heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages can make people more vulnerable to breast, colon, liver, head and neck cancers, while 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths come from habitual smoking. Obesity can result to colon, esophageal and pancreatic cancers, among others.

According to the study, maintaining a body mass index between 18.5 and 27.5 has healthy benefits. An hour of vigorous exercise or two-and-a-half hours of moderate exercise every day also helps.

Incidence Rate

For women who met the healthy lifestyle goals, the incidence rates of cancer were 463 per 100,000, while those who are not in the healthy group have incidence rates reaching as high as 618 per 100,000. Men with healthy lifestyles have incidence rates of 283 per 100,000 and 425 per 100,000 for those who don't follow healthy lifestyle goals.

The study's researchers said cancer is usually caused by environmental factors like diet and exercise and can be prevented through lifestyle modification, NBC News further reported. Dr. Graham Colditz and Dr. Siobhan Sutcliffe from Missouri's Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis supported this claim and said that cancer is preventable.

Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's JAMA Internal Medicine said aside from reducing the risk of cancer, exercising can lower people's chances of developing heart ailments and diabetes. Regular exercising can prolong a person's life expectancy as well.

Doctors Should Be Encouraged To Help Patients

According to researchers, health insurance companies, regulators and medical societies should hold patient counseling sessions that encourages people to be more physically active, getting vaccinations, eating diets based on plants and being cautious of their weight. In addition, the study's researchers think cigarette taxes, excellent physical education in schools and reducing income inequality can help prevent cancer.

According to the Washington Post, there are two worlds that lead the fight against cancer. Many doctors and researchers focus on the mechanisms of cancer and how its spread can be stopped. The second group, meanwhile, is aiming to reduce cancer deaths by preventing the disease from developing in the first place.

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