Helpless to Prevent Cancer? Actually, Quite a Bit Is in Your Control

Americans seem very afraid of cancer largely because it seems to come out of nowhere. There is increasing evidence that i can’t be prevented. It is the biggest cause of death among American. If people ate better, were physically active and stopped smoking, it could be prevented. This ignores the fact that people can’t change many risk factors of heart disease like age, race and family genetics. 

Of the nearly 90,000 women and more than 46,000 men, 16,531 women and 11,731 men fell into the low-risk group. For each type of cancer, researchers calculated a population-attributable risk, which is the percentage of people who develop cancer who might have avoided it had they adopted low-risk behaviors. 
About 82 percent of women and 78 percent of men who got lung cancer might have prevented it through healthy behaviors. About 29 percent of women and 20 percent of men might have prevented colon and rectal cancer. About 30 percent of both might have prevented pancreatic cancer.Breast cancer was much less preventable: 4 percent. 
Over all, though, about 25 percent of cancer in women and 33 percent in men was potentially preventable. Close to half of all cancer deaths might be prevented as well.