Upwards of 90 Percent of Cancer Cases Linked to Lifestyle

Reducing the risk for cancer is a highly researched and funded topic in America. In 2015, an estimated 1.6 million new diagnoses were expected with an approximate death toll of 589,430 Americans, according to the American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Facts and Figures 2015.”

However, the link between cancer and lifestyle choices has become clearer. Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York have found an association between possibly avoidable lifestyle choices and 70 to 90 percent of cancer cases.

The study, published this month in the academic journal Nature, involved the development of four detailed approaches to assessing cancer risk, according to the Stony Brook University press release on the study. Each of the four methods “involved both data- and model-driven quantitative analyses, with and without using the stem cell estimations.” This allowed researchers to take a multiple analysis approach.

The study also challenged other research published in Science earlier this year, which concluded that most cases of cancer were simply based on “bad luck.” This theory inspired researchers at Stony Brook University to examine cancer risk more closely.

“Many scientists argued against the ‘bad luck’ or ‘random mutation’ theory of cancer but provided no alternative analysis to quantify the contribution of external risk factors,” Song Wu, lead author of the study and assistant professor at Stony Brook University in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics said in the press release. “Our paper provides an alternative analysis by applying four distinct analytic approaches.” 

It has always been thought that lifestyle choices are connected with cancer in some form, specifically when smoking and excessive drinking is concerned. Also poor diet and lack of exercise have been attributed to a possible increased risk for developing cancer. However, the new study’s findings are indeed shocking. If making better lifestyle choices can reduce our risk for developing cancer in such a profound way, then it is vital to place our day-to-day choices under the microscope.

Stop cancer sign. Prevention concept.Making healthy lifestyle choices may reduce not only our risk for cancer, but also other diseases that can be just as debilitating and fatal, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and heart failure. A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (2008) found that a “strong sense of coherence,” or proper lifestyle choices, was associated with a 20 percent reduced risk for all-cause mortality.

With all the “don’t do this and don’t do that” trending on the millions of websites on the Internet, let’s take a quick glance at a few “please do” lifestyle choices for a happier and healthier you.

  • Consume a nutritious diet of healthy foods prepared at home. The “Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention” from the American Cancer Society suggests, “For most Americans who do not use tobacco, the most important cancer risk factors that can be changed are body weight, diet, and physical activity.”
  • Get your American Heart Association recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.
  • Include more fiber in your diet.
  • Drink in moderation.
  • Put out the butts.
  • Maintain a healthy weight in order to steer clear of obesity, which is often a precursor for other chronic diseases, such as cancer.

—Stephen Seifert

Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flair for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.



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