University of Calgary research conducted using data from the Alberta Cancer Registry has found that cancer is not only closely connected to lifestyle but it can also be changed in your favour.
It is very possible to significantly reduce the chances of getting cancer simply by making a few easy lifestyle changes, as a person’s lifestyle has been found to affect the risk of cancer by just over 40%. Women were found to have a higher summary population risk estimate at 42.4% compared to men at 38.7%.
Researchers estimate 40.8% of incident cancer cases were attributable to 24 lifestyle factors specified in their work, “Overall we estimated 40.8% of cancer cases were attributable to exposure to 24 factors included in our analysis; smoking was responsible for the greatest burden accounting for 15.7%, followed by physical inactivity and excess body weight which accounted for 7.2% and 4.3% respectively.”
The risky lifestyle choices attributed as risk factors were clear with their premise:
- Smoking, both active and passive
- Obesity, or being overweight
- Inadequate physical activity
- Inadequate produce consumption, fruits and vegetables
- Inadequate fiber intake
- Excessive red processed meat consumption
- Alcohol consumption
- Inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake
- Oral contraceptives and hormone therapy
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Hepatitis B and C viruses
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Helicobacter pylon
- Air pollution
- Natural and artificial UV radiation
- Radon and water disinfection by-products
A wide range of personal choices available to individuals were concluded to open them up to higher risks of developing some form of cancer. Food was made clear to have plenty to do with individual cancer risks; while exercise and other common avoidable environmental changes can help to prevent cancer.
Attributable items were referred to as modifiable lifestyle and environmental risk factors; meaning they can be changed and their effects in risk levels can be reversed. Findings are useful but not complete, as there was insufficient data on population level exposure on at least one more area the team wanted to explore: medical radiation.
Based on gathered results the study concludes 40.8% of attributable cancer to modifiable lifestyle and environmental risk factors could be understood; largest contributors to cancer burden were: tobacco use; physical inactivity; and excess body weight. If those 3 factors could be eliminated from an individual’s lifestyle that person would effectively lower their risk levels for cancer.
Some power is within your own hands even when it comes to these sometimes fatal and infinitely frightening forms of cancer; making simple healthy lifestyle choices can go along way to promoting a healthier, longer, happy life. The power is all yours, use the force within you.
“You must unlearn what you have learned.” “Do or do not. There is no try.” ~ Yoda