Health Advice



Gene blues? You can protect yourself from cancer

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Experts say that your new blue jeans will expand by up to an inch and a half, if you wear them a lot for several months. That can play out two ways: They may change to suit your shape, becoming more comfortable and making you look better or, if not cared for, they can become out of shape and tattered.

Your genes can do the same thing -- become positively reshaped because of smart daily habits (healthy food, consistent exercise, stress management, restful sleep), or be changed so that they fuel your risk for serious health problems. Those changes in your genes involve switching them on or off, and it's called epigenetics.

You can control about 80% of which genes are on or off by your life choices -- and that can change your cancer risk. One study found that guys can turn off genes that increase their risk for prostate cancer by adopting an intensive nutritional upgrade, as well as not smoking, managing stress and getting consistent exercise. The same approaches reduce the risk for colon and breast cancers.

Another new study found that chronically unmanaged stress from poor physical and emotional lifestyle choices, such as lack of exercise, poor sleep, untreated depression/anxiety, and lousy nutrition, causes a 28% increase in the risk of dying from cancer compared to someone the same age without chronically unmanaged stress. Want help turning on and off the genes that fuel a cancer-resistant, healthier you? Check out the program in my book "The Great Age Reboot."



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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