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Lifestyle Changes Can Dramatically Cut Cancer Incidence

Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No. 10 (May 27, 2016)

with Dr. James Meschino

Research Topic: Lifestyle Changes Can Dramatically Cut Cancer Incidence
Source: Journal Source JAMA, May 19, 2016


This study was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association on May 19, 2016, and it showed once again that modest lifestyle changes can cut cancer deaths by about 50%. The study combined data from the long-running Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professional Follow-up Study, as well as US national cancer statistics. The Nurses’ Health Study has been following 89,571 female nurses in the United States for many years, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study has been following 46,339 male health professionals also for many years.

The men and women who followed all four of the following lifestyle patterns showed up to a 40% reduction in cancer risk and about a 50% reduced risk of cancer deaths. These are the four lifestyle patterns that provided protection:

  • Non-smokers or smoked only at some point in the past, but not in the recent past.
  • Not drinking alcohol or drinking only modestly (i.e. for women, having one or fewer drinks a day, and for men, having two or fewer drinks a day).
  • Maintained a Body Mass Index of 18.5 – 27.5 (Consult your BMI results on the Meschino Wellness Platform in Body Composition Section in My Wellness Report).
  • Exercised regularly with aerobic activity for at least 75 vigorous-intensity minutes per week or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity minutes per week.

There are, of course, other things one can do to reduce cancer risk, but the data from this large population study sheds light on how important it is:

  • Not to smoke.
  • To avoid alcohol or have only limited quantities.
  • To stay at or near your ideal weight (not exceeding a BMI of 27.5).
  • Do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate endurance exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise.

Remember, death from cancer was cut in half in those individuals who adhered to all 4 of these practices, so if you’re missing one or two in your own health management, it may be time to “kick it up a notch”. Studies tell us that only about 15% of cancer cases are caused by inherited gene mutations that are severe, so most of us can prevent cancer through prudent lifestyle practices. This study really reinforces this point and gives us all a starting point to reduce our risk dramatically as the journal title implies.

Here is the link to the journal article review:


Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time.

Dr. James Meschino

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