There’s no magic pill that can help us live longer, but new research reporting on the value and impact of several forms of cancer prevention, taken from a review of 12 studies, shows that by changing your lifestyle, you can dramatically reduce your chances of getting several types of cancer.
The remedy is not a quick fix, it’s a way of life. Researchers from the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health found that people who followed basic cancer prevention guidelines were as much as 61 percent less likely to diet from cancer, depending on different circumstances.
While the guidelines followed for the study reduce overall cancer risk, some cancers did not respond as well as others. The review found they did not seem to reduce risk of ovarian or prostate cancer, and they only seemed to benefit men when it came to lung cancer.
The news is especially great for black women because we are at higher risk for developing or dying from several types of cancer, especially breast cancer. Living with obesity also increases our risk.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly was found to be particularly effective in preventing breast, endometrial and colon cancer. Researchers found that it reduced the risk of breast cancer by 19 percent to 60 percent, endometrial cancer by 23 percent to 60 percent, and colon cancer in men and women by 27 percent to 52 percent, they reported.
“Those cancers have been shown in other studies to be related to obesity,” said Lindsay Kohler, lead researcher. “Most of these guidelines are going to help prevent you from being obese.”
Drinking too much alcohol (up to one drink a day for women) , carrying too much weight or being sedentary could be responsible for more than 20 percent of cancer cases, the researchers said.
The guidelines used for the study recommend lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, choosing whole grains over refined grains, limiting consumption of processed or red meat, avoiding excess alcohol, and eating five or more servings of a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables every day.
The details about how to shape your diet and how often to exercise can be found at the American Cancer Society website.