Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health), and is the term used for several related diseases, all characterized by damaged cell DNA. Cell DNA is the chemical instruction manual for our cells and, when DNA is damaged, cells behave in abnormal ways, such as living longer than usual, dividing uncontrollably and/or destroying healthy body tissues. These cell behaviors can result in cancer tumors and/or irregular blood test results.
Decades of scientific research have conclusively linked some lifestyle choices, such as whether to smoke or use sun protection, with cancer risk and diagnosis. Ongoing studies are trying to understand the effects of smoking and sun exposure on people who have already been diagnosed with cancer.
Beyond smoking and sun exposure, current research consistently shows that cancer risk and the outcomes following a cancer diagnosis are strongly influenced by lifestyle choices, including:
- What we eat
- How much we eat
- How active we are
- How much alcohol we consume