How to avoid heart disease and cancer at the same time

November 18, 2011 By Marla Paul

(Medical Xpress) -- Consider it the ultimate health twofer. A new Northwestern Medicine study shows the behaviors and risk factors that reduce the incidence of heart disease also substantially lower the risk of lung, breast, prostate and colon cancers by up to nearly 40 percent.

This is the first study to examine the effect of seven key healthy cardiovascular behaviors and on . Those seven measures include a , plenty of , no smoking, healthy body weight and blood pressure and ideal levels of cholesterol and blood sugar. Having just one of them lowered the risk of cancer by 20 percent; and having five to seven of them cut the risk by almost 40 percent.

It’s known that some of these individual factors protect against cancer, but no one had ever looked at the cumulative effect of all seven, known as the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Life’s Simple 7.

The research was presented Nov. 16 at the AHA Scientific Sessions 2011 in Orlando.

“It’s a big bonus that a healthy lifestyle not only protects you from cardiovascular disease but also helps you avoid cancer,” said lead investigator Laura Rasmussen-Torvik, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “That awareness should provide extra motivation for people to adopt these behaviors. Even if we remove smoking from our score, we still see the overall beneficial effect.”

For the study, researchers looked at data from 13,360 participants from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, a community-based cohort.

Explore further: Regular checkups help ensure good health for men

Related Stories

Regular checkups help ensure good health for men

June 20, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Men, listen up: This is for you. What will it take to get you interested in your health? If you reply, “but I am interested,” then you probably are already getting a regular checkup. But the ...

Poor public awareness of bowel cancer

August 23, 2011

Britons have very low awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer – the third most common cancer in the UK and second largest cause of cancer deaths each year, new research shows.

Study affirms 'mediterranean diet' improves heart health

November 17, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- A team of Johns Hopkins researchers has uncovered further evidence of the benefits of a balanced diet that replaces white bread and pasta carbohydrates with unsaturated fat from avocados, olive oil and ...

Recommended for you

Artificial heart design features porous plastic foam

October 2, 2015

Artificial hearts with multiple moving parts increase the chance of failure; scientists have worked up a device which is a single piece. No less interesting is the material they used; the team is taking a page out of soft ...

What powers the pumping heart?

September 25, 2015

Researchers at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research have uncovered a treasure trove of proteins, which hold answers about how our heart pumps—a phenomenon known as contractility.

Sticky gel helps stem cells heal rat hearts

September 24, 2015

A sticky, protein-rich gel created by Johns Hopkins researchers appears to help stem cells stay on or in rat hearts and restore their metabolism after transplantation, improving cardiac function after simulated heart attacks, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.