Study: Healthier lifestyles may prevent some cancers

NEW YORK (CBS) - A new report released Friday found hundreds of thousands of cancer cases could be prevented if Americans made better choices when it comes to their lifestyles.

A new study shows as many as 340,000 cases of cancer in the U.S. could be prevented each year if people eat less, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight and drink less alcohol.

"I think it's really important that the things that are in our control , which are lifestyle factors, things that we can control and do something about, we can impact our incidence of cancer," said Dr. Deborah Axelrod with NYU Langone Medical Center.

Researchers said we could see a 38 percent drop in breast cancer cases if people take simple steps, including moderate exercise, for at least 2.5 hours a week.

Cancer is the one of the most common causes of death in the U.S., second only to heart disease. It kills about 500,000 Americans each year.

Many could save their own lives if they stop smoking, avoid getting too much sun and protect against cancer causing infections such as HPV and hepatitis.

"We estimate that about 35 percent of cancer deaths globally could be prevented through known interventions and that translates into over two million deaths per year," said Dr. Elizabeth Ward with the American Cancer Society.

Researchers for the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund also found that almost half of all stomach cancer cases are also preventable.

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