To assess the theoretical impact of lifestyle of a cancer family history in first-degree relatives (CFH) and clarify interactions between CFH and lifestyle factors, hospital-based comparison and case-reference studies were conducted in Nagoya, Japan. Totals of 1988 gastric, 2455 breast, 1398 lung and 1352 colorectal cancer patients, as well as 50,706 non-cancer outpatients collected from 1988 to 1998, were checked for lifestyle factors, which included dietary and physical exercise habits, as well as smoking/drinking status. General lifestyle factors with non-cancer outpatients did not differ by the CFH status. Case-reference analyses showed that frequent intake of fruits, raw vegetables, carrots, pumpkin, cabbage and lettuce, as well as frequent physical exercise, were associated with decreased risk for all four sites of cancer, while habitual smoking increasing the risk of gastric, and more particularly, lung cancer. Interestingly, the study revealed the magnitude of odds ratios for the above lifestyle factors obtained from CFH positives to be similar to those from CFH negatives for these four sites of cancer. There were no significant interactions between CFH and any particular lifestyle factor. In conclusion, our results suggest no appreciable influence of CFH on lifestyle related risk factors for gastric, breast, lung, and colorectal cancer. Habitual smoking increased, while frequent physical exercise and raw vegetables intake decreased cancer risk, regardless of the CFH status.