Healthier lifestyles could save thousands of cancer cases

cancer cases

Healthier lifestyles could lead to a reduction of around 84,000 cancer cases every year in the UK, according to new data.

One in 3 incidences of cancer could be prevented if people committed to losing weight, exercising more and cutting down on their drinking, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) report claims. 


Breast and bowel cancer

Breast cancer cases could fall by 20,300, while the number of reported cases of bowel cancer has the potential to drop by 19,800, says the WCRF. 

There would also be estimated reductions in kidney cancer (2,200) and pancreatic cancer (1,400) cases. 

The data shows that for men, 9% of all cases of advanced prostate cancer are due to being overweight or obese. 

The number of cancer cases is still rising in the UK - up to 351,578 in 2013, from 340,000 in 2012. 

Breast cancer is the most common for women and prostate cancer for men. 


Simple changes can make a difference

Rachel Thompson, WCRF’s head of research interpretation, says simple changes to diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference. 

She says exercising for 10 to 15 minutes a day or adjusting your diet to include less alcohol, high-calorie food and sugary drinks can cut the risk of cancer. 

In fact, healthy body weight is the second most important factor for preventing cancer after smoking. 

Rachel Rawson, a senior clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Care, welcomes the report but stresses that lifestyle choices alone can’t prevent the disease. 

She says the main risk factors for breast cancer cannot be affected, such as getting older and a family history of the disease. 

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, wants cancer prevention to be more prominent in the public consciousness. 

He says that while the public have accepted the link between tobacco and cancer, they are not yet convinced healthy eating, exercise and less alcohol can help them.


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