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Sunday 25th August 2019

40% of cancers due to lifestyle

7th December 2011

A report by Cancer Research UK has found that nearly half of cancers in the UK are due to lifestyle choices.


The research showed that more than 130,000 cancers in the UK were caused by people smoking, drinking or eating unhealthy food.

Smoking came top of the list, causing 23% cases in men and 15.6% in women, while too few fruits and vegetables caused the second highest number of cancers for men and being overweight came second for women. 

The report, which was published in the British Journal of Cancer, was claimed by its authors to be the most "comprehensive" study on lifestyle-related cancers so far.

The report's lead author Professor Max Parkin said: "Many people believe cancer is down to fate or 'in the genes' and that it is the luck of the draw whether they get it.

"Looking at all the evidence, it's clear that around 40% of all cancers are caused by things we mostly have the power to change."

The report showed 14 lifestyle and environmental factors caused 134,000 cancer cases in the UK annually.

Around 100,000 of these (34%) were associated with smoking, drinking and being overweight. 

Men were advised to stop smoking, eat more healthily and cut down on alcohol to reduce their cancer risk.

Women were advised to stop smoking and ensure they did not become overweight or obese.

Prof Parkin said: "We didn't expect to find that eating fruit and vegetables would prove to be so important in protecting men against cancer. And among women we didn't expect being overweight to be more of a risk factor than alcohol." 



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