Thousands of Scottish cancer cases 'avoidable' by lifestyle change

Thousands of Scottish cancer cases 'avoidable' by lifestyle change

According to a Cancer Research UK report, over 2,500 cancer diagnoses can be prevented every week if people just smoked less or quit other bad habits.

Cancer Research UK found the country with the greatest proportion of preventable causes of cancer was Scotland with 41.5%, followed by Northern Ireland on 38%, Wales on 37.8%, and England on 37.3%.

The charity said obesity causes 13 types of preventable cancers, including bowel, breast, kidney and womb. Being overweight or obese is another risk factor for cancer, with 6.3% of cancer cases being linked to excess weight.

One in every 16 cancer cases is due to patients being overweight or obese, researchers say.

"These figures show that we each can take positive steps to help reduce our individual risk of the disease", said Harpal Kumar, chief executive at the Cancer Research UK. It measures whether you're a healthy weight for your height. At the time, she was almost 20 stone.

Next came overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and sunbeds and occupational exposure at 3.8 % each, infections (3.6 %), alcohol (3.3 %) and eating too little fibre (3.3 %).

"Then we searched published research for information on how much each risk factor increases cancer risk, using only gold standard epidemiology research", says Dr Katrina Brown who led the research in a statement coinciding with the publication of the research.

In a pilot scheme launched in London and the West Midlands a year ago, the charity posted advertisements on billboards stating "obesity causes cancer".

"If obesity could be avoided, the impact on cancer rates is uncertain - but they would nearly certainly decline significantly", Prof Greaves said.

In recent weeks, Cancer Research UK has been running a campaign across the UK featuring posters and radio adverts to increase awareness that obesity can cause cancer.

"Given the now high rates of obesity in young people, this represents (like cigarette smoking) a major societal challenge beyond the bounds of the medical arena".

Related Articles