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Can You Prevent Cancer

40% of Cancers are Avoidable

A series of studies published in the British Journal of Cancer indicates that 40% of cancers could be prevented by making changes to our lifestyle. Whilst smoking is the greatest contributor to cancer development, nutrition and physical activity have an important role to play.

Diet will increase the risk of cancer by over 10%> The study found that not eating enough fruit and vegetables can increase your risk of cancer by 6.1%. Added to this is obesity and alcohol which contribute to 7.4% to our risk of cancer.

Whilst being overweight or obese is associated with poor health, we don't tend to think of being overweight as a cause of cancer. In a recent survey by Cancer Research UK found only 3% of people are aware that a healthy weight can reduce their cancer risk.

The role of fruit and vegetables in reducing cancer risk has been shown to be a result of the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The fibre content is also important as it reduces the time any potential cancer forming compounds stay in the body. It's important to note that in some cases the use of supplements, can make this worse.

The good news is that you don't have to avoid alcohol completely, however the less your drink the lower your chance of cancer. It's a good idea to track your alcohol intake and measure the amount of alcohol you're drinking.

Including red meat as part of a healthy diet has been controversial with some studies linking red meat with increasing rates of cancer. Processed meat like devon, salami and sausages have been linked to bowel cancer so it's a good idea to limit your intake.

Staying active is important to maintaining a healthy weight and can also help to reduce your risk of cancer. So get out and stay active. Take small steps to start with and aim for about half an hour.

References "The Fraction of Cancer Attributable to Lifestyle and Environmental Factors in the UK in 2010"; D Max Parkin; with Lucy Boyd, Sarah C Darby, David Mesher, Peter Sasieni and Lesley C Walker; Foreword by Sir Richard Peto; British Journal of Cancer Volume 105, Supplementary Issue S2 (Si-S81), Published 6 December 2011

29 Feb 2012

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