Rise In Cancers 'Caused By Weight'

More than 3,500 cases of cancer a year in Northern Ireland could be prevented through simple lifestyle changes

Following a major new study of 2015 cancer data, the charity found that 37.7% of all cancers diagnosed in the United Kingdom each year could be prevented through lifestyle changes.

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.

Margaret Carr from CRUK said: "These research findings are startling in that, for the first time, we can see how many cases of cancer could be prevented by things like not smoking and keeping a healthy weight". Being overweight or obese is another risk factor for cancer, with 6.3% of cancer cases being linked to excess weight.

Across the United Kingdom, smoking remained by far the leading cause of preventable cancer, although it dropped from 19.4% in 2011 to 15.1%.

Nearly two thirds of Britons are overweight or obese, which is up from half 25 years ago.

The charity said obesity causes 13 types of preventable cancers, including bowel, breast, kidney and womb.

Researchers note that in many cases, incidences of cancer come down to a person's genetic profile and family history which determines their susceptibility to various cancers as they age.

Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said the figures showed that individuals could take positive steps to reduce their risk of cancer.

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.

"What the researchers are getting at is that if obesity can be reduced, by tackling the factors that lead to obesity, cancer rates could be reduced too". People regard being large as increasingly normal.

The CRUK study has examined lesser known causes including a lack of fibre in your diet, not enough exercise, air pollution and processed meat.

Other lifestyle choices that increase cancer risk include alcohol abuse, low-fiber diets, and HPV infections.

"Making simple lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on long term health", he said.

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