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Half of all cancers are preventable: study

Channels Television  
Updated March 29, 2012

Half of all cancers could be prevented if people just adopted healthier behaviors, US scientists argued on Wednesday.

Smoking is blamed for a third of all cancer cases and being overweight leads to another 20 percent of the deadly burden.

For instance, up to three quarters of lung cancer cases could be avoided if people did not smoke, said the article in the US journal Science Translational Medicine.

Science has shown that plenty of other cancers can also be prevented, either with vaccines to prevent human papillomavirus and hepatitis, which can cause cervical and liver cancers, or by protecting against sun exposure, which can cause skin cancer.

Society as a whole must recognize the need for these changes and take seriously an attempt to instill healthier habits, said the researchers.

“It’s time we made an investment in implementing what we know,” said lead author Graham Colditz, an epidemiologist at the Siteman Cancer Center at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

Exercising, eating right and refraining from smoking are key ways to preventing cancer.

“Pollution and crime, poor public transportation, lack of parks for play and exercise, and absence of nearby supermarkets for fresh food hinder the adoption and sustained practice of a lifestyle that minimizes the risk of cancer and other diseases,” said the study.

“If you watch your diet, exercise, and manage your weight, you can not only prevent your risk of getting many lethal forms of cancer, you will also increase your chances of doing well if you should get almost any form of cancer,” counseled Edward Benz, president of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston












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