Lifestyle at fault for 40% of cancers

More than four in 10 cancers can be prevented by making lifestyle changes, according to the Irish Cancer Society who has urged the public to consider their health when making their new year’s resolutions.

A paper on cancer projections for Ireland 2015–2040, published by the National Cancer Registry of Ireland, has found that 40% of cancer risk has been attributed to five lifestyle factors — tobacco, diet, overweight/obesity, alcohol and low physical activity.

“The number one thing people can do to improve their health and lower their risk of cancer is to quit smoking,” said Kevin O’Hagan, cancer prevention manager at the Irish Cancer Society.

“Three in every 10 cancers are caused by smoking and we would urge all smokers to make quitting their number one resolution in 2017.”

Mr O’Hagan encouraged anyone who wants to give up to call the National Smoking Quitline on Callsave 1850 201 203 for advice on quitting and information on nicotine replacement therapies. A ‘We Can Quit’ programme, a support group for women looking to quit smoking, is also run in Cork and Dublin.

“Another way people can reduce their risk is by getting physically active in 2017,” said Mr O’Hagan.

“We would advise people to limit their time sitting and aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. You could challenge yourself to get active in 2017 in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. Take on a trek, marathon, run or even an extreme challenge, and get fit while supporting people affected by cancer,” he said.

“Being active and having a healthy diet also contributes to maintaining a healthy weight, which after not smoking, is the most important thing you can do for cancer prevention.

“There is also a very real link between alcohol and cancer, with alcohol being directly linked to seven types of cancer, he said.

Mr O’Hagan also urged the public to be screened for cancer.

“ Anyone who is called for screening should take those few minutes out of their busy lives to do it – it could just save a life.”


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