A new research from the American Cancer Society found that modifiable risk factors, like smoking, alcohol abuse, and a bad diet, are behind nearly half of cancer deaths in the United States.
The study revealed that 45 percent of cancer deaths affecting Americans were caused by poor lifestyle choices. What’s more, the same risk factors were to blame for 42 percent of cancer cases.
Western diet, cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, secondhand smoke, and a high body mass index are highly preventable, but they lead to almost one in two cancer cases. In theory, researchers argue, cancer could be prevented if people took better care of themselves.
The American Cancer Society also found that the preventable risk factor that is a top killer in cancer is smoking, with 19 percent of cancer cases and 28.8 percent of fatalities. Being overweight or obese comes in second with 7.8 percent of reported cases and 6.5 fatalities. The third spot belongs to alcohol abuse with 5.6 percent cancer cases and 4 percent fatalities.
Men More Likely to Develop Cancer from Smoking than Women
When they analyzed each type of cancer, researchers found that lung cancer is the deadliest especially for men, who were more likely to develop cancers tied to smoking, HIV infection, processed and red meat consumption, or UV radiation than women.
Women had a higher risk of being diagnosed with cancers that are tied to alcohol abuse, a high BMI, inactivity, and the infection with human papilloma virus (HPV) than men.
ACS based its analysis on cancer data taken from the National Cancer Institute and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lead author Farhad Islami believes that the numbers presented in the study may be too modest. This means that a larger percentage of cancers are preventable.
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