Beating bowel cancer together

World Cancer Research Fund launch new report on cancer risk

A new report launched today by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has found that a lifestyle featuring little exercise and lots of fast and processed food are fuelling overweight and obesity, resulting in dramatic increases in cancer rates worldwide.

The new report – Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: a Global Perspective – is the result of an ongoing review of decades of evidence by world-renowned, independent experts from across the globe. It provides strengthened evidence for a comprehensive package of behaviours that, when followed together, represent the most reliable blueprint available for living healthily to reduce cancer risk.

Around one in six deaths annually worldwide are due to cancer. In the UK in 2015, 359,734 cases of cancer were diagnosed. As more countries adopt ‘Western’ lifestyles, the number of new cases of cancer is expected to rise by 58% to 24 million globally per year by 2035.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Being overweight and obese is a cause of at least 12 cancers, including bowel cancer - five more than a decade ago.
  • Regularly drinking sugar-sweetened drinks increases your cancer risk, because it causes weight gain, overweight and obesity.
  • Being physically active can help protect directly from three cancers, including bowel cancer, and also helps people maintain a healthy weight, reducing further their cancer risk.
  • A healthy diet featuring wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and pulses and low in red and processed meat reduces your cancer risk.
  • Drinking alcohol is strongly linked to an increased risk of six cancers, including bowel cancer.

Dr Lisa Wilde, Director of Research and External Affairs at Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer, says: “The WCRF’s expert report is a comprehensive review of the role we can all play in preventing a cancer diagnosis by making simple changes to our lifestyles. It adds to the substantial evidence that bowel cancer, specifically, can be avoided by leading a healthier, more active way of life.

“Every year nearly 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, it's the fourth most common cancer in the UK. Making small changes to your diet and lifestyle can help to stack the odds against bowel cancer. For example keeping physically active, being of a healthy weight, avoiding processed meat and eating less red meat, cutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking can help reduce your risk.”

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