Over 40% of breast and bowel cancer cases in developed countries are preventable through diet, physical activity and weight control alone, a report says.
The report, Policy and Action for cancer Prevention, published by World cancer Research Fund (WCRF), has estimated that about 43 per cent of bowel cancer cases and 42 per cent of breast cancer cases in the UK could be prevented in this way. The report details how simple measures in the diet can make all the difference for these and many other cancers.
According to the report, globally there are millions of preventable cancer cases; about a third of the 12 most common cancers in high-income countries and about a quarter in lower income countries could be prevented through diet, exercise and weight control. This includes cancers of the throat, lung, bowel, breast, gallbladder, kidney, liver, pancreas, prostate, stomach and womb.
Some of the recommendations given in the report included daily exercise, avoiding processed meats, eating less salt, and keeping a healthy weight. To arrive at the estimates, the team had looked at the biggest and most reliable research studies available.
Professor Mike Richards, National Clinical Director for cancer, said: "The evidence linking diet, physical activity, obesity and cancer has become stronger over the last decade and this report can play a part in people adopting healthier lifestyles.
"After not smoking, it is clear that diet, physical activity and weight are the most important things people can do to reduce their cancer risk."
Adopting a healthy lifestyle for cancer recovery
It's also not too late for those who have already been diagnosed with cancer. A recent study has found that adopting a healthy lifestyle can help cancer patients even after they have been diagnosed with the disease. Researchers found that about 36% of men with aggressive prostate cancer did not need planned surgery or radiotherapy after making some basic dietary and lifestyle changes.
The changes, which included lowering salt intake, eating larger amounts of oily fish, losing weight and undertaking moderate exercise, were able to inhibit or even totally stop their cancers' progression. And they claim that there is no reason that the benefits could not be seen in other types of cancer
Previous studies have shown that adopting a more healthy lifestyle can help to prevent different types of cancer developing. Studies have linked obesity to at least six different types of cancer, including breast cancer, the most common form of the disease in women.
Increasing evidence is highlighting the key role that adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle has in cancer prevention, reduction and recovery.