New Study Finds Nearly Half Of All Cancer Related Deaths Are From Preventable Causes

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of over 600,000 people in 2020 (via The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). While cancer deaths have decreased overall in the past 20 years, it is still a major problem in the United States. Fortunately, there may be steps people can take to significantly reduce their risk of ever developing this disease. A new study published in ​​The Lancet found that almost half of all cancer deaths are due to preventable risk factors including smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or having a high body mass index.

"These findings highlight that a substantial proportion of cancer burden globally has potential for prevention through interventions aimed at reducing exposure to known cancer risk factors but also that a large proportion of cancer burden might not be avoidable through control of the risk factors currently estimated," the study researchers wrote. "Thus, cancer risk reduction efforts must be coupled with comprehensive cancer control strategies that include efforts to support early diagnosis and effective treatment." While there are many factors that can increase someone's likelihood of smoking, drinking, and having a high BMI, these are risks that can be lowered by lifestyle changes and ultimately lead to fewer cancer deaths every year.

Reducing your risk of cancer

Another recent study found that people who smoked regularly had a higher risk of developing almost every type of cancer than those who had never smoked (via Cancer). The absolute risk for cancer also increased for almost all study participants over the age of 50, making old age another risk factor. While age cannot be controlled, smoking and tobacco use can. One of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of developing cancer is to avoid smoking of any kind and to avoid tobacco products (via Mayo Clinic).

Eating a healthy diet, including eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as limiting your intake of processed and red meats can also reduce your risk of cancer. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight is also important, as obesity has been linked to an increased risk of developing several types of cancer. Exercise has been shown to help reduce your risk of developing breast, prostate, lung, colon, and kidney cancer, so getting regular exercise can greatly reduce your cancer risk. Finally, limiting alcohol consumption can also reduce your risk of cancer, as drinking alcohol regularly can significantly increase your chances of getting cancer at some point in your life.