“Simple lifestyle changes” could prevent thousands of cancer cases, according to a leading charity.
The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has stated that some changes that are known to improve your health could significantly reduce cases of colon and breast cancer.
The changes include improving our diet, exercising, and losing weight.
A new study found that 67% of colon cancer cases in the UK in men and 60% of colon cancer cases in women are preventable due to lifestyle factors.
Similar research from the US also estimates that lifestyle factors are responsible for 27% of breast cancer cases in women.
The study, funded by the WCRF and published on the AMRC open portal, looked at human exposure to mutable risk factors using data from the health surveys of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and two other ongoing studies, including the UK Biobank database.
Research suggests that a higher proportion of cancer cases are preventable than previously thought.
Rachael Gormley, Executive Director of the World Cancer Research Fund UK, said: “These new UK numbers give a clear indication of the simple lifestyle changes we can all make to reduce the chances of being diagnosed with cancer.
“With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to impact people’s outcomes and experiences with cancer treatment, knowing how to reduce your risk has never been more important.”
The biggest lifestyle factor that can increase your risk of colon cancer is insufficient fiber intake.
The WCRF believes that eating more fiber could prevent around 12,000 cancer cases each year in the UK.
Meanwhile, processed meat consumption in the UK has been linked to more than 5,000 cases each year.
The charity said alcohol use is the highest risk factor for breast cancer in women – with alcohol use linked to an estimated 4,487 cases each year.
Other important risk factors for breast cancer are a high body mass index and low physical activity.