How does lifestyle affect cancer?
Cancer is a disease that affects more and more people. Researchers have now found that around four out of ten cancer cases could be prevented if people had a healthier lifestyle.
- Many forms of cancer can be avoided through a healthy lifestyle.
- Obesity and obesity are major risk factors for cancer.
- Tobacco and alcohol increase the likelihood of developing cancer.
- Food manufacturers should use less salt, sugar, and fat.
- Asbestos, UV radiation and air pollution are also relevant risk factors for cancer.
In their current study, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) scientists found that almost four out of ten cases of cancer could be prevented if the sufferers had a healthier lifestyle. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "British Journal of Cancer".
Alcohol, smoking and being overweight are strong risk factors
When it comes to cancer prevention, measures such as lower alcohol consumption and weight loss could help prevent around 2,500 cases of cancer a week, the authors say. In addition, people should not smoke cigarettes and should not go to the tanning bed as often. In this way, more than 2,500 cancers could be avoided each week, with tobacco smoke being the main cause and accounting for a good 15 percent of cancer cases, the researchers explain. Smoking contributes to well over half of lung cancer cases, but there are also thousands of other cancers related to smoking each year, such as bladder, esophageal, and colon cancer, says study author Dr. Katrina Brown from Cancer Research UK.
Obesity needs to be reduced
The scientists explain that the quota of smokers in the UK has decreased by about one percent per year. However, there are more and more people who are overweight, which is the second most preventable cause of cancer and is responsible for around 6.3 percent of cancers. Hopefully, the success of advertising restrictions and tobacco taxes shown earlier in reducing the number of smokers will also result in new guidelines driving junk food and other food manufacturers to use less salt, sugar, and fat, the experts said.
How was the study carried out?
“We took data from national surveys that show how common each risk factor is in the population, and data from the UK cancer registries that show how many cases of each type of cancer exist. Then we looked in the published research results for information about the extent to which each risk factor increases the risk of cancer, ”explains Dr. Katrina Brown in a press release from Cancer Research UK.
Obesity is almost normal
People now consider it normal to be overweight, which shows a change in social norms and acceptance, explains Professor Linda Bauld of Cancer Research UK. Society has to be brought back to normal weight and experts have to deal with the challenges that arise for people who are overweight, the researcher continues.
Obesity can lead to cancer
A recent Cancer Research UK campaign has now highlighted the link between obesity and cancer. Awareness of the cancer risk associated with obesity must therefore be increased. Only 15 percent of adults in the UK are aware of these effects, the researchers say.
What increases the risk of cancer?
The new study is based on a number of sources, including national surveys, cancer registries and analysis of data from scientific work. The results show that alcohol consumption, low-fiber diet and infections such as HPV each account for slightly more than three percent of cancer cases, with exposure to substances such as asbestos in the workplace and UV radiation each causing almost four percent of the cancers. Air pollution, processed meat consumption and exposure to radiation each account for less than two percent of cancer cases.
More men than women increase their risk of cancer by smoking
The team also notes that the proportion of preventable cancer cases varies widely between the four countries in the United Kingdom. In Scotland, 41.5 percent of cancers are preventable, compared to just 37.3 percent in England, doctors say. Overall, the proportion of preventable cancers was slightly higher in men than in women. This difference is believed to be due to socio-economic factors that can affect lifestyle, such as more smokers among men. Obesity and alcohol were responsible for a larger proportion of cancers in women. Obesity has been linked to 13 cancers, including breast, kidney, uterine, and intestinal cancers, which often affect women. (as)