About 40 percent of all cancers are avoidable, according to a new study from a British cancer organization.
Researchers at the Cancer Research UK found that more than 100,000 cases of cancer diagnosed in the UK were directly attributable to cigarettes, diet, alcohol and obesity – the number goes up to 134,000 when dozens of lifestyle and environmental risk factors are taken into account.
Smoking was found to be the greatest cause for cancer causing 23 percent of cancers in men and 15.6 in women.
“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,” said Professor Max Parkin, a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist based at Queen Mary, University of London.
Parkins said many are under the illusion that cancer is genetic but their research found its more of what you put into your body or where you work that affects your likelihood of developing cancer.
The researchers found that of the 158,700 cancers diagnosed in men each year, the top six risk factors impacted were:
- Alcohol use – 4.6 percent
- Lack of fruits and vegetables – 6.1 percent
- Occupation – 4.9 percent
- Overweight and obesity – 4.1 percent
- Tobacco use – 23 percent
- Too much exposure to sun/tanning beds – 3.5 percent
Parkin and colleagues said when you add up the percentage of cancers that are linked to one or more of the 14 lifestyle and environmental risk factors you get a total of 42.7% (134,000 cases) for men and women, which breaks down to a figure of 45.3% (72,000) for men, and 40.1% (62,000) for women.