Does leading a healthy lifestyle really prevent cancer?originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Adriana Heguy, molecular biologist, genomics researcher, on Quora:
If you understand cancer prevention as taking measures to reduce the risk of developing cancer, then yes, leading a healthy lifestyle will prevent cancer. But not 100%. It’s always a matter of risk reduction. If you have genetic factors, you may not avoid cancer. Sometimes people just get unlucky: the wrong cell mutates at the wrong time, and you still end up with cancer.
Some concrete examples of a healthy lifestyle and cancer prevention:
Do not smoke .
Between 2005 and 2010, an average of 130,659 Americans (74,300 men and 56,359 women) died of smoking-attributable lung cancer each year. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 7,330 lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers every year.
Nonsmokers have a 20 to 30 percent greater chance of developing lung cancer if they are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work.
Smoking also increases your chance of developing other cancers: esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.