The health news this past week has been about decreasing the risk of most cancers through a healthy lifestyle. Several studies have been done in this area. One study concerns reducing the risk for breast cancer among white women no matter what their genetic markers are showing. Another study was done to show lifestyle changes could drastically reduce the risk of most cancers.
The “healthy lifestyle” these studies are talking about is basically what we have been discussing on our site since the beginning. We are way ahead of them 🙂
- Moderate to no alcohol.
- No smoking. Never have or have quit.
- Maintain a healthy weight (BMI between 18.5 & 27.5) This is not a bad range when you look at the BMI chart.
- Have a weekly exercise program of at least 1 1/2 hours of moderate intensity. That would be 30 minutes a day/5 days a week.
- In addition; women who decreased their breast cancer risk in the study did not use hormone replacement therapy after menopause.
These studies were done with Caucasians only. The results are unknown for the ethnic population. I would think that no matter what ethnic group you belong to, the above list would cut the risk of most cancers. The researchers just don’t know by how much.
New method for predicting breast cancer risk suggests about 30% of cases could be prevented: May 31, 2016: “Ask almost any health-conscious woman who’s mustered under a giant pink ribbon, and she’ll tell you what an American woman’s chances are of getting breast cancer in her lifetime: one-in-eight.
But that’s a national average. And as the relative influence of genes, behavior and environmental factors on cancer risk come into clearer focus, women increasingly have begun to understand that they’re not all average.
New research is helping to refine those numbers, and to clarify what it would take for a woman to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer. It concludes that, at some point in her life span, a 30-year-old white woman in the United States has a probability of developing breast cancer that lies somewhere between 4.4% and 23.5%.
Published Thursday in the journal JAMA Oncology, the study concludes that as many as 29% of breast cancer diagnoses among such women could be prevented or delayed if all women maintained a healthy body weight, did not use menopausal hormone therapy, drank little and did not smoke.”
Here is the actual study: Breast Cancer Risk From Modifiable and Nonmodifiable Risk Factors Among White Women in the United States
This article is about cutting the risk of most cancers, May 19, 2016: Healthy Lifestyle May Prevent Up to Half of Deaths From Most Common Form of Cancer, Study Finds, “Adopting a healthy lifestyle could prevent a huge number of cancer cases and possibly save tens of thousands of lives in the U.S, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School looked at 89,571 Caucasian women and 46,399 Caucasian men enrolled in two ongoing cohorts to see how much a healthy lifestyle could reduce cancer risk.” The percentages are significant. Read the article for the types of cancer & the decreased risk.
Here is the link to the actual study: Preventable Incidence and Mortality of Carcinoma Associated With Lifestyle Factors Among White Adults in the United States
Good article regarding exercise, showing that even minimal exercise will lower the risk of cancer. Walking to your mailbox or to the end of your driveway every day can make a difference: Weekly walks and even minimal exercise have been shown to prevent over 10 types of cancer , Friday, May 27, 2016 by: Amy Goodrich: “For years, we’ve had substantial evidence supporting a role for physical activity in three leading cancers: colon, breast, and endometrial cancers, which together account for nearly one in four cancers in the United States,” Alpa V. Patel, Ph.D., a co-author from the American Cancer Society said in a press release. “This study linking physical activity to 10 additional cancers shows its impact may be even more relevant, and that physical activity has far reaching value for cancer prevention.” They found that leisure-time physical activity was associated with reducing the odds of developing 13 of the 26 kinds of cancer, regardless of people’s body mass index or smoking habits. Link to study: Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Risk of 26 Types of Cancer in 1.44 Million Adults You don’t need a gym, just a pair of good walking shoes & determination 🙂 Go smell those roses!
Speaking of exercise, here is the link to EWG’s 2016 Guide to Sunscreens. The site gives safety ratings. You can also look up your favorite sunscreen to see how safe it is.
You may have noticed that the type of diet, & environmental factors were not a part of either studies. I have cited many studies that show the Mediterranean, DASH & the MIND diet improve the immune system & decrease the risk of most cancers. The researchers did note that environmental factors should be studied to see what impact they have on cancer. Environmental factors would include air pollution, water pollution, pesticides, genetically modified foods & more. This is definitely an area that needs to be studied in regards to all chronic diseases, not just cancer.
This article is from 2011 yet still relevant. A Vegan Diet (Hugely) Helpful Against Cancer “A new study just out of Loma Linda University funded by the National Cancer Institute reported that vegans have lower rates of cancer than both meat-eaters and vegetarians. Vegan women, for example, had 34 percent lower rates of female-specific cancers such as breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer. And this was compared to a group of healthy omnivores who ate substantially less meat than the general population (two servings a week or more), as well as after controlling for non-dietary factors such as smoking, alcohol, and a family history of cancer. Link for the PubMed study: Vegetarian diets and the incidence of cancer in a low-risk population.
As I have said before, if your not interested in becoming a vegetarian or a vegan, small changes in your present diet can also make a difference. Becoming more plant based can be done slowly by increasing those fruits & vegetables on your plate! Look at previous blogs discussing this.
What all these studies are saying, is that in order to reduce the risk of most cancers, this is what constitutes a “Healthy Lifestyle.”
- No alcohol.
- No smoking.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Plant based diet.
- No HRT after menopause.
This list should be your goal, but, don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to change overnight. That will just cause added stress. Work on cutting back on alcohol & quitting smoking first. Take it in steps. A course in Mindfulness would help with that. Adding in exercise will also help with both of those goals by relieving the stress involved with change. Cleaning up your diet can be done last. Baby steps!
Next week we are going to revisit what a healthy vegan diet looks like. I will include recipes to get you started & a list of resources….Mary 🙂