Study: Vast majority of cancers caused by lifestyle, not “bad luck”

Bad diet, inactivity, smoking and drinking alcohol – all are among the causes of up to 90 percent of cancers, according to a new analysis that stresses how many cases of cancer are under our control.

This paper, published in Nature, is in stark opposition to the paper out earlier this year. Published in Science, that paper found that the majority of cancer cases were caused by “bad luck,” our cells going awry without much people could do to control them. At that time, we pointed out some key flaws with their analysis.

This study used the same premise and a lot of the same data as the Science article to reach a different conclusion: lifestyle makes a difference when it comes to cancer risk.

Here at AICR, where we focus on how diet, physical activity and body fat link to cancer, a wide and consistent body of evidence shows that these factors make a difference. One third of the most common cancers can be prevented with diet, staying lean, and being active.

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Cancer cases increasing in low-income countries, many preventable

Low and middle income countries are now facing rising numbers of breast, colorectal and other common cancers, finds a new study, due in part to increases in obesity, inactivity and smoking around the world. The United States and other high-income countries continue to have the highest cancer rates, but rates have stabilized here.

Today, 1 in 3 premature deaths of all noncommunicable diseases are from cancer.

Today, 1 in 3 premature deaths of all noncommunicable diseases are from cancer.

The study, published today in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, shows a disturbing trend around the world, where many countries have adopted a lifestyle once attributed primarily to the US and other Western countries. AICR estimates that here in the US, about one-third of cancers are preventable if everyone was to be a healthy weight, be active and eat a healthy diet.

Using estimates from the International Agency for Cancer Research and other registries, the study pulled together incidence and mortality for several common cancers around the world. Among the findings described are:

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death among women worldwide. Incidence increased by about 30 percent in western countries between 1980 and the late 1990s, then these slowed or plateaued since the early 2000s. In Brazil, Uganda and other  low to middle-income countries, rates of this cancer continue to increase. The causes of these increases are not completely understood. Continue reading


Another study linking coffee to possible heath benefits

CoffeeStacked_dreamstime_1762791A large study on coffee making news today is good news for coffee lovers savoring your morning cup. The study finds that drinking up to five cups of coffee a day links to living longer, and lower risk of dying from type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, when compared to non-coffee drinkers.

The benefit held true for drinking caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.

Published in Cardiology, this latest analysis adds to the evidence in recent years suggesting that moderate amounts of coffee can bring health benefits. Coffee contains several phytochemicals and nutrients that lab studies have linked to lower risk of inflammation and keeping insulin at healthy levels, both of which play a role in type 2 diabetes, as well as cancer risk.

This study did not find a link between coffee consumption and cancer deaths. But AICR and World Cancer Research Fund’s analysis of the research finds there is strong evidence that coffee drinkers have lower risk of developing both endometrial and liver cancers. Having type 2 diabetes also increases the risk of many cancers.

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