Certain lifestyle factors may increase your risk of cancer, but smoking and eating too much animal product seem to have a greater impact than most.

In a recent study featured on Medical News Today, researchers looked into the development rates of 21 different cancers in 157 different countries. They found that in 87 countries, over half of cancer cases were linked to smoking and overconsumption of animal products.

For men, the smoking index was twice as important as the consumption of animal products. For women, however, the consumption of meat posed a bigger threat, as it showed “the strongest correlation among certain cancers, including female breast, kidney, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, testicular, and thyroid cancer.”

Researchers believe that this is due to their ability to trigger the production of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Although IGF-1 is needed for healthy physiological growth, overproduction may lead to the development of tumors.

The study highlights the importance of quitting vices and eating a balanced diet. Previous studies have noted that different kinds of food may lower the risk of certain cancers, including nuts, which may reduce the possibility of pancreatic cancer, and tomatoes, which may protect women from breast cancer.

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(Photo by Ramos Alejandro via Flickr Creative Commons)

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