Obesity and alcohol behind cancer rate


Higher levels of obesity and alcohol and lower levels of physical activity are part of the reason why the UK and other high income countries have higher rates of cancer than lower income ones, according to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

The charity's table of cancer rates puts the UK in 22nd place with about 267 people diagnosed per 100,000. However, for breast cancer, with is linked to excess body fat and alcohol consumption, the UK is ranked 11th. Research studies show that women who drink alcohol daily are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than women who don't drink at all. They indicate that drinking one unit of alcohol a day probably causes an extra woman out of 100 to get breast cancer.

Professor Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific adviser for WCRF, said: "The high incidence rates in the UK, Denmark and other high-income countries are not inevitable and lifestyle changes can make a real difference to people's risk. In fact, scientists estimate that about a third of the most common cancers in the UK and other high-income countries could be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, being more physically active and eating more healthily."

The table is based on statistics from GLOBOCAN, a project by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in France, part of the World Health Organisation.

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