Simple lifestyle changes can halt million cancers
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In English: Friday, February 4, 2011
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Exercise & Fitness
By Kate Kelland
LONDON (Reuters) - About one third of the common cancers in the United States, China and the United Kingdom could be prevented each year if people ate healthier foods, drink less alcohol and do more exercise, said health experts on Friday.
Estimates from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR, for its acronym in English) and the Global Fund for Cancer Research (WCRF) suggest that making simple lifestyle changes could prevent 40 percent of cancer cases breast only in the United Kingdom and the United States, plus tens of thousands of colon, stomach and prostate.
"It is disturbing that in 2011 people are dying needlessly from preventable cancers by maintaining a healthy weight, diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors," he said in a statement Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific adviser to WCRF.
In China, 620,000 cases, or about 27 percent are preventable, said WCRF, while in the United States that figure is 35 percent, or 340,000 cases, and 37 percent in Britain.
A healthier way of life could prevent about 61,000 cancer in Brazil and about 79,000 in the UK.
The findings of the WCRF recommendations are supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) says that regular exercise can stop many diseases like cancer, heart ailments and diabetes.
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and its incidence is growing. Each year, approximately 12.7 million people discover they have cancer and 7.6 million people die of the disease, of which there are 200 known types.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, for its acronym in English), this disease will kill more than 13.2 million people per year in 2030, almost double that in 2008, and the great Most deaths will occur in the poorest countries.
In a separate statement, WHO said that a low level of physical activity is the main cause of approximately 21 to 25 percent of breast and lung cancers, 27 percent of diabetes cases and 30 coronary percent of cases worldwide.
Rachel Thompson, deputy director for science of WCRF, said that although the message is simple-no smoking, eating good food and stay at a healthy weight can help put up barriers to cancer, it is still difficult to reach the population.
"It's alright to say 'this is what you have to eat and this is the physical activity you have to do', but we need to facilitate people to make these changes," he said.
"Everyone has a role, from international organizations to governments or the population itself," he said.
The WHO says that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. You can make walking 30 minutes five days a week or bicycling to work every day.
Peter Baldini, head of the World Lung Foundation, also urged governments to introduce laws against snuff and raised the price of cigarettes.
The snuff smoking kills millions every year, and lung cancers linked to snuff also kill hundreds of thousands of people who are passive smokers.
"There is no magic bullet to cure all forms of cancer, but we have the opportunity and obligation to protect the population of developing cancer whenever possible," said Baldini.
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