Cancers increase by 40% due to bad lifestyles
Cancers caused by smoking, drinking and excessive sunbathing have soared in the past decade- official statistics have revealed.The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal large increases in the incidence of so called “lifestyle” related cancers.
The biggest rise has been in the rate of malignant skin cancer, which has increased by 56 per cent among men and 38 per cent among women since 2002.
The ONS said the increase in skin cancer rates was probably due to changes in clothing over the last century and growing levels of sunbathing.
Oral cancers, which have been linked to smoking and poor diet, have increased by 37 per cent while kidney cancer has increased by 25 per cent in men and 36 per cent in women.
Overall new cases of cancer in England rose by almost a fifth between 2002 and 2011- when 274,233 patients were diagnosed.
Nick Ormiston-Smith, statistical information manger at Cancer Research UK, said that the figures showed how poor lifestyle choices were creating health problems for people in later life.
He said: “Forty per cent of cancers can be attributed to lifestyle factors so swapping some bad habits for healthier ones can help reduce the risk of developing the disease.
“Smoking increases the risk of at least 14 forms of cancer including lung, bowel, pancreatic and mouth.
“Cutting down on alcohol, keeping to a healthy weight, avoiding sunburn and being more active can also help reduce the risk of many cancers.
“Leading a healthy life doesn’t guarantee you won’t get cancer but it can stack the odds in your favour.”
The figures show that the number of cancers to be diagnosed in England in 2011 were 359,020, with nearly 85,000 of those being non-melanoma skin cancers.
Around 6,000 people were diagnosed with oral cancers while more than 11,000 were found to be suffering from malignant melanoma.
As skin cancer can develop decades after damage caused by ultraviolet radiation, growing numbers of people are expected to be diagnosed with the disease.
The report said: “These increases are considered to be due to changes in exposure to solar UV rays as a result of altered patterns of behaviour in recent decades, such as choice of clothing and recreational sunbathing.”
The number of men diagnosed with lung cancer was 19,173 – a reduction of 11 per cent since 2002. However, among women, lung cancer increased by 15 per cent to 15,675.
The ONS said: “The majority of lung cancer cases occur as a result of tobacco smoking, with around one in five cases in the UK being attributable to diet and occupational exposures.
“While men remain more likely to smoke than women, the gap has narrowed.”
Breast cancer was the most prevalent diagnosis among women, with figures increasing by 5.5 per cent since 2002 to 41,523.
It is estimated that about 27 per cent of these are linked to lifestyle and environmental factors such as alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity and hormonal factors.
Prostate cancer was the most common cancer among men, with 35,567 patients being diagnosed in 2011.
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