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Half unaware of lifestyle link to cancer

14th August 2007

Half of people in the UK are unaware that their likelihood of developing cancer could be cut by lifestyle changes, a survey has revealed.

Studies have shown that just under half of cancers could be prevented by eating healthy food, exercising and maintaining a healthy body weight.

But this message does not appear to have reached everybody yet as a YouGov poll conducted on behalf of the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) found that only 54 per cent of respondents know that diet is linked to cancer risk.

Just 47 per cent said they were aware that being overweight can increase the risk of cancer while one-third know that physical activity is a factor.

Dr Greg Martin, science and research manager for WCRF, said that people are “dying unnecessarily” because of not knowing the facts about cancer.

“This is really frustrating, because by making just a few small changes to their lifestyle people can make a real difference to their cancer risk, and also to their long-term quality of life,” he added.

WCRF general manager Lucie Galice said the results are a “reminder that both the public sector and the voluntary sector need to do better at informing the public that if they are overweight, have a poor diet and are not physically active, then they can be putting themselves at a higher risk of cancer”.

The survey’s findings follow a study released last week by Cancer Research UK which said that obesity, binge drinking and overexposure to the sun are increasing people’s risk of cancer.

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