Giving up on smoking and making some simple changes in lifestyle could have helped prevent some 600,000 cases of cancer in the UK during the last five years, claims a report. based on these findings, nutritionists and health care experts are exhorting people to give up on smoking, eating healthy and exercising regularly.

Almost 40% cancer cases can be avoided if people make changes to lifestyle, says Cancer Research UK.

“An estimated 42% of cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to a combination of 14 major lifestyle and other factors. The proportion is higher in men (45%) than women (40%), mainly due to sex differences in smoking,” Cancer Research UK reported.

Smoking, which has been identified as one of the deadliest killers, alone accounted for more than 314,000 cases during the last five years, it pointed. 144,800 cases, the charity said, could have been averted by sticking to a low salt diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fibre and be avoiding red and processed meat. Exercising and maintaining a healthy weight too could have helped avoid nearly 88,100 cases.

“Alcohol was next on the CRUK list, responsible for 62,200 cancers, followed by 55,900 cases of excess UV radiation from sunlight. Lack of physical activity is believed to be the underlying cause of 16,500 cancer diagnosis examined in the study.”

“There are more than 200 types of cancer each caused by a complex set of factors – involving both our genes and our lifestyles,” said Linda Bauld, an expert on cancer prevention at Cancer Research UK, said.

Cancer is one of the biggest killers in the United Kingdom, as opposed to the United States where heart disease is the leading cause of death with cancer coming second.

“There’s now little doubt that certain lifestyle choices can have a big impact on cancer risk, with research around the world all pointing to the same key risk factors. Of course everyone enjoys some extra treats during the Christmas holidays, so we don’t want to ban mince pies and wine. But it’s a good time to think about taking up some healthy habits for 2015,” said Max Parkin, professor at London’s Queen Mary University.

Even if 1% of the British smokers were to quit, nearly 3,000 cases of cancer could be prevented every year, the report points out.


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