(HealthDay News) — Having a favorable lifestyle may help reduce the risk for cancer for individuals at high genetic risk, according to a study published online July 28 in Cancer Research.

Meng Zhu, from Nanjing Medical University in China, and colleagues constructed an incidence-weighted overall cancer polygenic risk score (CPRS) based on 20 cancer site-specific PRSs and examined the extent to which a high genetic risk for cancer can be mitigated by a healthy lifestyle. The associations of genetic and lifestyle factors with cancer incidence were examined using data from the U.K. Biobank (442,501 individuals).

The researchers found that for overall cancer, participants at intermediate and high versus low genetic risk had hazard ratios of 1.27 and 1.91, respectively, for men and 1.21 and 1.62, respectively, for women. There was a joint effect noted for genetic and lifestyle factors on overall cancer risk; compared with those with low genetic risk and favorable lifestyle, the hazard ratios were 2.99 and 2.38 for men and women, respectively, with high genetic risk and unfavorable lifestyle. The standardized five-year cancer incidence decreased significantly with having a favorable lifestyle, from 7.23 to 5.51 percent for men and from 5.77 to 3.69 percent for women at high genetic risk.


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“Our findings indicate that everyone should have a healthy lifestyle to decrease overall cancer risk,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This is particularly important for individuals with a high genetic risk of cancer. We hope our CPRS could be useful to improve a person’s awareness of their inherited susceptibility of cancer as a whole and facilitate them to participate in healthy activities.”

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