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40% of Cancers Can be Prevented
Researchers of United Kingdom reviewed the causes of cancers in UK and found that 40% of cancers are associated with lifestyles and can be prevented. The results are released in British Journal of Cancer.
Cancer Research UK, established by scholars and researchers from The University of Oxford and The University of London, had based on the cancer cases from 1993 to 2007 in UK to calculate the cancer cases in 2010 and make an estimation of 100,000 cancers – equivalent to one third of all those diagnosed in UK each year - are caused by smoking, unhealthy diets, alcohol and excess weight. This figure further increases to around 134,000 when taking into account all 14 lifestyles and environmental risk factors, such as deficient physical activity, sunlight, occupation (exposure to chemicals or asbestos), infection, radiation, no breastfeeding (increase the risk factor for breast cancer), etc., and reflected that over 40% of cancers are associated with life styles.
Smoking is far and away the most important lifestyle factor causing 23% of cancers in men and 15.6% in women for lung, oral and liver cancers (nearly one in five cancers). About 10% of cancers are associated with diets, including deficient intake of fibre, fruit and vegetables, consumption of red and processed meat and excess consumption of salt. 50% of the oesophagus cancers are related to insufficient vegetables whereas 20% of stomach cancers are associated with excess consumption of salt.
Professor Max Parkin, a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist based at University of Londay and study author, 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.”  He highlighted that eating fruit and vegetables would prove to be so important in protecting men against cancer whereas overweight has a great effect on women for higher risk of cancers. In addition, cancers have multiple causes – for example a cervical cancer can be linked to both HPV infection and smoking. The overall results reflected that 45% of all cancers in men could be prevented – compared with 40% of all cancers in women.
Public health minister Anne Milton said: "We all know that around 23,000 cases of lung cancer could be stopped each year in England if people didn't smoke. By making small changes, we can cut our risk of serious health problems - give up smoking, watch what you drink, get more exercise and keep an eye on your weight."
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