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Cancer research

Nearly half of all cancer deaths are linked to modifiable risk factors.

Smoking, or eating too few fruits and vegetables and other unhealthy behaviors were linked to more than 4 in 10 cancer cases and deaths, according to a new study from the American Cancer Society.

Researchers found an estimated 42% of the 1.57 million cancer cases in the U.S. three years ago were linked to preventable risk factors. For cancer deaths, 45.1% were connected. The figures in the research are based on data from 2014 and were published Tuesday in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Among all risk factors, cigarette smoking accounted for the highest proportion of cancer cases, the study found. Smoking accounted for more than 80% of lung cancer and 74% of all larynx cancers.

Overall, cigarette smoking was linked to 19% of cancer cases and 29% of cancer deaths, followed by excess body weight, alcohol intake and UV radiation, the research showed.

In a joint statement, the authors of the ACS study said the results emphasize the need for medical professionals and patients to use preventative measures to lower their risk.

“Increasing access to preventive health care and awareness about preventive measures should be part of any comprehensive strategy for broad and equitable implementation of known interventions to accelerate progress against cancer,” read their statement.

On their website, the American Cancer Society suggests people can lower their risk of getting cancer by staying away from tobacco, eating healthy and getting exercise, stay safe while out in sunlight, and get regular cancer screenings.

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