Sunday , September 25 2022

Bad lifestyles are to blame for 2,500 cancer cases a week as experts say the disease is not simply caused by genes or ‘bad luck’

More than 2,500 cancer cases diagnosed every week in the UK are preventable by making simple lifestyle changes, research has found.

Almost four in ten of all cancers could be avoided by switching to a healthier diet, doing more exercise and giving up smoking.

Of the 360,000 new cases diagnosed in 2015, about 135,500 could have been prevented, according to Cancer Research UK.

Experts say it is further evidence that cancer is largely down to environmental factors – especially the unhealthy lifestyles rife in Britain – and not simply caused by genes or ‘bad luck’.

While smoking is still the biggest avoidable cause, accounting for three in every 20 cases, doctors say weight-related cancer is fast catching up.

Almost four in ten of all cancers could be avoided by switching to a healthier diet, doing more exercise and giving up smoking, Cancer Research UK has said. File image used 
Almost four in ten of all cancers could be avoided by switching to a healthier diet, doing more exercise and giving up smoking, Cancer Research UK has said. File image used 

Soaring levels of obesity, combined with the falling smoking rates, mean it could overtake smoking as the top preventable cause in the next 20 years.

And women are at higher risk than men because obesity is a key factor in breast, womb and bowel cancers. Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said the nation was facing an obesity-led cancer timebomb.

He said the research linking cancer and obesity was still limited and suggested the effects from today’s obesity epidemic could take between ten and 20 years to play out.

‘Obesity is potentially the new smoking,’ he said. ‘We need to turn that tide around and we need to act quickly.’

Janet Boak, 55, was diagnosed with womb cancer four years ago and says her weight and lifestyle were to blame.

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The grandmother of three, from Carlisle, said she weighed 20 stone at the time and admits she did no exercise.

She underwent a hysterectomy but had no further treatment as the disease had been caught early.

Volunteering to take part in womb cancer research, she was shocked to discover that possible causes include being obese and inactive.

She said: ‘I was huge and most of my weight was around my stomach. I couldn’t remember the last time I did any exercise.

‘I’d known I needed to lose weight but I hadn’t realised just how much I was putting my life at risk.’

 Although survival rates are gradually improving, the number of people in the UK diagnosed with cancer has increased by 7 per cent in a decade.

The study looked at the number of cases caused by preventable factors including exposure to UV radiation from the sun and sunbeds, alcohol, eating too little fibre, and pollution.

It found Scotland has the highest preventable rates at 41.5 per cent, with Wales and Northern Ireland both around 38 per cent and England the lowest at 37.3 per cent.

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, said it was time society treated obesity with the same social stigma as smoking.

Smoking rates ‘haven’t come down by accident’ and she called on the Government to embark on similar campaigns to drive down obesity rates.

‘We definitely need to change attitudes towards obesity,’ she said. ‘People regard being large as increasingly normal – that is a shift in cultural norms and acceptability.

‘Awareness isn’t enough – just knowing that something we might be doing or a choice we might be making is not ideal for our health, isn’t necessarily enough for us to change it.’

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Rachel Rawson, of Breast Cancer Care, says: ‘We cannot turn a blind eye to the evidence that both being overweight and drinking alcohol increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

‘And it’s within our reach to make simple lifestyle changes – like bumping up exercise and eating a healthy balanced diet.

‘Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do for your health.’

(Daily Mail)

About Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a writer with passion for cutting-edge news

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  1. This article is educative and I hope people would learn to stay away from lifestyles that threaten their health.

  2. Eze Priscillia Obianuju

    people should really try to abstain from lifestyle that threatens their health

  3. interesting piece

    Name Ekulide Tochukwu

    Reg no 2015054034

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