Researchers say people are in charge of their own risk of cancer — with as many as half of cancer deaths related to things people could easily change, NBC News reported.
Smoking, heavy drinking, being overweight and a lack of exercise were responsible for 20 to 40 percent of cancer cases and for half of cancer deaths, according to a team from Harvard Medical School.
The group examined data from health professional of 140,000 people and determined that heavy drinking raises colon, breast, liver, head and neck cancer rates. Obesity raises the risk of colon, pancreatic and other cancers. Smoking caused 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths. The risk of cancer was lower in those who exercised, kept a health weight, didn’t smoke and didn’t drink excessively.
Researchers said health insurance companies should encourage doctors to help patients do what they can to prevent cancer, and that Americans need to believe that cancer can be a preventable disease.