Striking new research has revealed the eight crucial lifestyle choices that lower your risk of some types of cancer by up to 30 per cent.
Breastfeeding, avoiding certain supplements and eating no more than three portions of red meat per week are just three.
Also on the list (below) are getting two and a half hours of exercise per week, avoiding sugary drinks, keeping a healthy weight and limiting fast food.
Unfortunately for boozers, quitting alcohol completely is another anti-cancer step.
The research was conducted to analyze the validity of a previous set of 10 similar recommendations set by The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).
During breastfeeding, periods are irregular – and this lowers the amount of the sex hormone estrogen that the body is exposed to over a lifetime. Excess estrogen has been linked to an increased cancer risk
Researchers from Newcastle University in the UK tested the guidance on people from Britain, using data from 94,778 adults with an average age of 56.
They used self-reported data on diet and exercise, as well as participants’ body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference measurements.
Each participant was scored on their adherence to eight of the recommendations out of seven.
They also used cancer registry data to track cancer diagnoses during the eight-year study period.
The two not studied were the WCRF advice to avoid supplements that claim to fight cancer, and to follow medical guidance in the event of a cancer diagnosis.
They controlled for age, sex, socioeconomic deprivation, ethnicity, and smoking status in their analyses.
On average, participants scored 3.8 out of seven for adherence to the eight recommendations studied.
Some 7,296 participants (eight percent) developed cancer during the study.
The researchers found that greater adherence to the suggestions led to a lower cancer risk.
For every recommendation patients stuck to, they lowered their cancer risk by seven percent.
They also found that each one-point increase in adherence score was associated with a 10 percent lower risk of breast cancer, a 10 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer, an 18 percent lower risk of kidney cancer, a 16 percent lower risk of esophageal cancer, a 22 percent lower risk of liver cancer, a 24 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer, and a 30 percent lower risk of gallbladder cancer.
People with a score of 4.5 or more had a 16 percent lower risk of all cancers combined, compared to those with an adherence score of 3.5 points or less.
Perhaps one of the most surprising recommendations was breastfeeding.
Researchers suggest the protection may be due to hormonal changes that occur during lactation.
During breastfeeding, periods are irregular – and this lowers the amount of the sex hormone estrogen that the body is exposed to over a lifetime.
Excess estrogen has been linked to an increased cancer risk.
Meanwhile, fast food is associated with cancer because eating it in large amounts makes you more likely to overweight. Excess weight can trigger a host of hormonal changes that can cause tumors to grow.
Red and processed meat contains compounds such as heme and nitrates, which when broken down in the body, forms compounds that can damage the cells lining the bowel, increasing the likelihood of cancer developing.
The 10 recommendations for preventing cancer include avoiding red meat and alcohol, exercising for at least two hours per week, and breastfeeding if possible
As for alcohol: it breaks down into a chemical called acetaldehyde, which can spark DNA damage that is linked to a host of cancers.
The researchers highlighted that because their study is observational, they do not know for certain that the lower cancer risk was caused by adherence to the 10 recommendations.
The findings were published in the journal BMC Medicine.