Nearly half of cancers are self-inflicted

A review of 18 different types of cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. and their diagnoses from 1993 to 2007 has allowed authors of a new report in the British Journal of Cancer to predict numbers and causes of cancers in the UK in 2010.

An incredible 34% of cancers are linked to lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol, bad diet and excess weight with further risk factors including occupation and exposure to sunbeds making approximately 40% of cancers preventable. The top risk factor for both men and women was found to be smoking and contributed to 23% and almost 16% of cancers, respectively. As lead author Prof Max Parkin states “…it’s clear that around 40% of all cancers are caused by things we mostly have the power to change.”

Collectively almost 15 thousand cancer diagnoses were attributed to a lack of fruit and vegetables with a further 17 thousand cancer cases linked to patients being overweight or obese. The message is clear: the dramatic increase in preventable cancers can be stopped by making small changes in lifestyle such as watching what you eat, giving up smoking and getting more exercise.
 

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