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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 1 (2004), Issue 3, Pages 233-239

Prevention of Cancer Through Lifestyle Changes

Department of Physiological Science, University of California Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Received 1 April 2004; Accepted 29 July 2004

Copyright © 2004 R. James Barnard. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the USA and an abundance of evidence suggests that lifestyle factors including smoking, the typical high-fat, refined-sugar diet and physical inactivity account for the majority of cancer. This review focuses on diet and inactivity as major factors for cancer promotion by inducing insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. Elevated levels of serum insulin impact on the liver primarily, increasing the production of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) while reducing the production of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1 (IGFBP-1) resulting in stimulation of tumor cell growth and inhibition of apoptosis (programmed cell death). Adopting a diet low in fat and high in fiber-rich starch foods, which would also include an abundance of antioxidants, combined with regular aerobic exercise might control insulin resistance, reduce the resulting serum factors and thus reduce the risk for many different cancers commonly seen in the USA.