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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS - 27/2/09

Diet and exercise can prevent cancer - international report

Friday February 27th, 2009

Thousands of cases of cancer in Britain could be prevented through healthy diet and exercise, experts said yesterday.

The World Cancer Research Fund named two cancers where more than 40 per cent of cases could be prevented through healthier lifestyles.

It said 42 per cent of breast cancer cases could be prevented and 43 per cent of bowel cancer cases in Britain.

A WCRF report lists the impact of unhealthy lifestyles in Britain, the USA, Brazil and China. In the US it blames some 38 per cent of breast cancer cases on lifestyle and in China just 20 per cent.

Even greater numbers of some rare cancers are linked to lifestyle, partly because of the effect of smoking.

The WCRF said a panel of 23 world experts had now made 48 recommendations for improving health, to boost physical activity and encourage healthy eating.

Panel chair Professor Sir Michael Marmot said: "This report shows that by making relatively straightforward changes, we could significantly reduce the number of cancer cases around the world.

"While governments are important in this, the evidence shows that when it comes to cancer prevention, all groups in society have a role to play. This report is relevant to everyone from heads of government to the people who do the weekly food shopping for their family."

Project director Professor Martin Wiseman said: "On a global level every year, there are millions of cancer cases that could have been prevented and this is why we need to act now before the situation gets even worse.

"We are expecting a substantial increase in cancer rates with the ageing population, obesity rates soaring, and with people becoming less active and increasingly consuming highly processed and energy dense foods and drinks.

"The good news is that this is not inevitable and we still have the chance to avert a crisis before it is too late."

The report was welcomed by Cancer Research UK, which said about 13,000 cancer cases in Britain are linked to obesity.

Richard Davidson, of Cancer Research UK, said: "There is no magic bullet, no one single fix to the problem. If we are to tackle the situation we need individuals, business and government to work together to encourage healthy lifestyles by promoting things like cycle lanes and food labelling."

Tags: Asia | Cancer | General Health | North America | Nutrition & Healthy Eating | UK News | World Health

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