Lifestyle related risk factors play a role in many cancers.
Approximately 42 percent of cancer cases and 45 percent of cancer deaths in the United States are linked to lifestyle related risk factors including excess weight, poor diet and physical inactivity according to a study released last week. AICR estimates that nearly half of the most common US cancers could be prevented through these and other modifiable risk factors.
The study, published November 21 in the journal Cancer involved adults aged 30 and older and included 26 specific cancer types. The researchers at American Cancer Society used reports published by the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute of Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) to select potentially modifiable risk factors with sufficiently strong (either convincing or probable) evidence for causing cancer and for which risk factor exposure and cancer outcome data were available.
The potentially modifiable risks included cigarette-smoking, excess body weight, alcohol intake, consumption of red and processed meat, low consumption of fruits and vegetables and dietary calcium, physical inactivity, exposure to UV radiation, and specific infections. In a nutshell, these are the factors that are not inherited, and exposure to them is controllable.
Using government data on morbidity and mortality, the researchers concluded that 659,640 cancer cases and 265,150 cancer deaths yearly are linked to modifiable risk factors – and thus could be prevented.
Dr. Nigel Brockton, Director of Research at AICR says, “The study provides an excellent overview of the modifiable factors that contribute to the burden of cancer in the USA. Also, the number of cancer cases attributable to each risk factor can be viewed as a ranking of priorities for raising awareness and modifying those risk factors. Clearly, continuing to raise awareness around cigarette smoking remains a top priority but excess body weight, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and low fruit and vegetable consumption are all top-ranking risk factors.”
The authors write that although cancer mortality rate has declined by 25% since 1991, the overall cancer burden is still high. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 1.6 million new cancer cases and 600,000 cancer deaths will occur in 2017.
“The study is helpful in identifying the most urgent priorities so that cancer prevention efforts can be targeted most effectively,” says Brockton.
Read full article: New Study Links Cancer and Cancer Deaths to Lifestyle Factors
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