According to a study of heart healthy habits, the American Heart Association's seven steps for heart health, called "Life's Simple 7" can reduce cancer risk by 50 percent.

According to research recently published in the journal Circulation by Dr. Laura Rasmussen-Torvik, a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine following just four of the steps can reduce cancer risk by 33 percent and adhering to six or seven of the items on the list reduced cancer risk by 51 percent.

Dr. Rasmussen-Torvik and her research group examined the health records of 13,253 patients from 1987 to 2006 and found that the more steps for a healthier heart that were taken, the less incidence of cancer. The most common cancers were lung, colon or rectum, prostate and breast cancer.

The seven steps were developed by the American Heart Association in 2010 with the aim of lowering heart attack and stroke numbers by 20 percent by 2020.

The "Life's Simple 7" list:

1. Get active -- It is recommended to have at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.

2. Control cholesterol -- Your cholesterol should be lower than 200 milligrams per deciliter.

3. Eat better -- This means eating foods high in whole grain, fruits, vegetables and lean protein such as fish. Limiting sodium, added sugars, trans and saturated fats is also important.

4. Manage blood pressure -- It should be less than 120/80.

5. Lose weight -- Your BMI or body mass index should be less than 25.

6. Reduce blood sugar -- Avoid soda, candy and other desserts.

7. Stop smoking -- AHA said to do "whatever it takes" to quit smoking

    "This adds to the strong body of literature suggesting that it's never too late to change, and that if you make changes like quitting smoking and improving your diet, you can reduce your risk for both cardiovascular disease and cancer," Dr. Rasmussen-Torvik said.

    The research published in the journal Circulation can be found here.