Health

13 causes of cancer that you can avoid

One of the most troubling things about cancer is that it can strike almost anyone, anywhere at any time — and that the likelihood of getting cancer is increasing.

smoking

One of the most troubling things about cancer is that it can strike almost anyone, anywhere at any time — and that the likelihood of getting cancer is increasing. But according to a recent story by Michelle Roberts over at the BBC, over 40% of cancers are related to lifestyle choices — and therefore presumably preventable.

The key lifestyle-related causes of cancer are:
1. Tobacco
2. Alcohol
3. Lack of fruit and vegetables
4. Meat
5. Lack of fibre
6. Overweight
7. Lack of physical exercise
8. Post-menopause
9. Infections (such as HPV)
10. Ionising Radiation
11. Occupational hazard (including chemical exposures)
12. Reproduction
13. Sun exposure and sun beds

For women, tobacco and excess weight seemed to be the biggest factors. Writes Roberts: “For example, for breast cancer, nearly a 10th of the risk comes from being overweight or obese, far outweighing the impact of whether or not the woman breastfeeds or drinks alcohol.” About 34 percent of cancers were linked to smoking, diet, alcohol, and excess weight.

This evidence does not, of course, mean that people with healthy habits can’t get cancer. But it demonstrates that we have some hand — and some responsibility — in disease prevention.