February 4, 2011

On World Cancer Day, Researchers Emphasize Diet, Exercise

While a new study claims that one in every eight women in the UK will get breast cancer, experts are saying that many other forms of the disease are easily avoidable with a few simple lifestyle changes.

According to Cancer Research UK, the number of British women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 was 47,700, an increase of more than 5,000 cases since 1999. Those statistics reveal that 124 cases were diagnosed per 100,000 women, compared to 120 per 100,000 in 1999, they added.

"The biggest jump occurred among women aged between 50 and 69, where cases rose by six percent. Rates among women aged between 25 and 49 fell by 0.5 percent," the AFP wrote in a Friday article.

"However, the number of women surviving the disease increased with more than 75 percent of women now living for more than 10 years after developing the cancer"¦ [and] almost 65 percent of women with breast cancer now live for 20 years beyond diagnosis," the news agency added.

According to the researchers, who published their findings on February 4 in accordance with World Cancer Day, several lifestyle factors contributed to the increase, including alcohol consumption, obesity, and a decline in birth rates.

Similarly, experts from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) are now reporting that roughly a third of all common cancer diagnoses in the US, China, and Great Britain each could be prevented if people drank less alcohol, ate healthier, and exercised more, according to Kate Kelland of Reuters.

In fact, according to Kelland, AICR and WCRF estimates suggest that those lifestyle changes could prevent 40% of breast cancer occurrences in the US and UK, as well as "tens of thousands of colon, stomach and prostate cancers" in various parts of the world.

The WCRF claims that more than a fourth of all cancers in China are preventable, Kelland said, as well as 35% in Britain and 37% in the United States.

According to Reuters, those findings "are backed by World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, which say regular exercise can prevent many diseases such as cancers, heart diseases and diabetes."

The WHO, in a separate statement, "said low levels of physical activity are the main cause of an estimated 21 to 25 percent of breast and colon cancers, 27 percent of diabetes cases and 30 percent of heart disease cases worldwide," Kelland said.

According to Reuters, the WHO advises that adults should do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.


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