In the latest epidemiological study where data from from 20,305 participants in two large community-based, long-term health studies: the Framingham Heart Study and the Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-Stage Disease (PREVEND) study was evaluated by researchers from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and other centres in the United States and the Netherlands, it has been found that maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle may pay off in lower risk for developing cancer.

According to Emily S. Lau and Jennifer E. Ho from the division of Cardiology at MGH, there is an association between a heart-healthy lifestyle and a lower risk of cancer, and the opposite is true: that a less heart-healthy lifestyle is also associated with higher risk of cancer.

The data also indicated that increased levels of natriuretic peptides — markers of stress on the heart — also predicted higher cancer risk among study participants.

The researchers found that traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors such as age, sex, and smoking status were each associated with cancer. Further, each 5 percent increase in the estimated 10-year atherosclerotic (ASCVD) risk score was associated with a 16 percent increase in risk for cancer, and participants who were in the highest third of natriuretic peptide levels had a 40 percent greater risk of developing cancer than those in the lowest third.

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