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Both screening and prevention can reduce mortality from cancer.
Screening detects abnormalities before they are clinically apparent, allowing for intervention either before cancer develops or at an early stage, when treatment is most often effective. Prevention strategies focus on modifying environmental and lifestyle risk factors that promote cancer. It is estimated that 50 percent of cancer is preventable.
Lifestyle factors have been linked to a variety of malignancies, including the most common in the developed world: lung, colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer. In a longitudinal study, participants who had all four lifestyle factors (never smoking, BMI <30, physical activity >3.5 hours weekly, prudent diet) had approximately one-third the risk of cancer compared to those who had none of these factors.
Smoking is responsible for approximately 30 percent of all cancer-related deaths across the globe. It is the strongest risk factor for lung cancer, increasing risk 10 to 20-fold.Significant health benefits accompany quitting, even for longtime tobacco users. Smoking cessation leads to reduced risk of most tobacco-related diseases and a decrease in all-cause mortality.
A variety of dietary factors have been studied in relation to cancer. Overall, dietary fat, fruits, vegetables, and fiber have not consistently been shown to affect cancer risk. Intake of other nutrients, particularly certain micronutrients, may offer a degree of protection against certain malignancies.
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