Obesity could become chief avoidable cancer cause, United Kingdom charity says

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

'And it's within our reach to make simple lifestyle changes - like bumping up exercise and eating a healthy balanced diet. Being overweight or obese is another risk factor for cancer, with 6.3% of cancer cases being linked to excess weight.

In 2015, the research found around 32,200 cases of cancer in men (17.7% of all male cancer cases) and around 22,000 (12.4%) in women due to the tobacco smoke exposure.

Cancer Research UK found 15.1% of cancer cases are caused by smoking, around 54,000 instances every year.

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK's prevention expert, said it was time society treated obesity with the same social stigma as smoking.

Half of smokers diagnosed with cancer develop lung cancer, but smoking can lead to bowel cancer, bladder cancer, or oesophageal cancer among many others.

However, it has also raised the risk of developing the killer disease from being overweight and obese - with 572 new cancer cases attributed to this.

Getting rid of smoking tobacco, exercising and shedding weight may be key lifestyle behaviours that can cut down thousands of cancer cases a week, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

The CRUK research team hopes authorities would help curb cancer rates through tobacco and junk food taxes, advertising bans, and boring packaging for cigarettes.

However, overall the analysis found the proportion of preventable cases of cancer had fallen - from 42.7% in 2011 to 37.7%.

Nearly four in ten of all cancers could be avoided by switching to a healthier diet, doing more exercise and giving up smoking, Cancer Research UK has said.

"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.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: "We have recently consulted on a package of bold measures which includes world leading proposals to restrict the promotion and advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar, including bargain buy special offers on junk food".


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