40% Of Cancers Could Be Prevented 'With Lifestyle Changes'

When it comes to developing cancer, it’s important to remember that while certain risk factors are out of our control (such as genetics) there are ways we can help to protect ourselves – and in reality it comes down to the way that we choose to live our lives.

New analysis by Cancer Research UK has in fact found that four in ten cancers could actually be prevented by making a few lifestyle changes here and there.

Lead author of the study Dr Katrina Brown said:

“This research was looking at the impact of these risk factors on a population level, rather than the effect they would have for an individual person. But it can give us an indication of the relative importance of the risk factors for individuals. This is because it considers how much the factor increases individual risk, how many cancer types are affected, and whether those are common cancer types.”

Looking into the modifiable risk factors, the team found that more than 135,000 cases could actually be prevented through changes like maintaining a healthy weight, stopping smoking, following a healthy diet, avoiding certain substances at work, enjoying the sun safely, cutting back on alcohol, and protecting against certain infections.

You could, for example, get the HPV vaccination to help prevent cervical cell changes and cancers associated with this kind of infection. HPV 16 or 18 cause around seven out of ten cervical cancers, so this kind of protection could really prove beneficial. There’s also the Gardasil HPV vaccine that protects against HPV 6 and 11.

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