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Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Date:6/3/2009

Lifestyle changes have been shown to lower odds, even for those at higher risk,,,,

WEDNESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Although some believe that certain people are destined to get cancer and nothing can be done to change their fate, that's just not the case, experts say.

Even people who have genes that predispose them to certain types of cancer might be able to reduce their risk by living a healthy lifestyle, they say.

"Between 27 and 49 percent of people think preventing cancer is impossible or highly unlikely," said Karen Collins, a registered dietitian and a nutrition adviser for the American Institute for Cancer Research.

But, she said, the institute has identified three steps people could take to dramatically affect the chances of developing cancer:

  • Eat a mostly plant-based diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.

"The data is pretty clear that we can make a significant drop in the cancer rate with these three changes," Collins said. "We can prevent about one-third of cancers with these changes. And if you add tobacco prevention, which reduces about 30 percent of cancers, over half of today's cancers could be prevented."

Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, an oncologist who specializes in breast cancer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, added that "increased weight increases the risk of cancer, and physical activity, regardless of weight, decreases breast cancer risk."

The institute joined with the World Cancer Research Fund to release a report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, that was prepared by a team of international researchers who reviewed more than 7,000 studies on cancer.

Their recommendations included:

  • Weight: Maintain a body mass index (BMI) between 21 and 23 and avoid gaining weight during adulthood. Although a BMI of
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