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Life changes can help prevent cancer

Vegetable display in a shop4/2/14

By Daniel Machin

A charity is working to dispel the myth that all cancers are unavoidable.

New research from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) reveals that many people do not know that there is a lot they can do to prevent the onset of the deadly disease.

Of the 2,000 UK adults polled, 49 per cent did not realise that diet can affect a person's risk of getting cancer.

Correlation between cancer and body weight

A further 66 per cent did not know about the links between cancer and physical activity, while 59 per cent were unaware of the correlation between cancer and body weight.

In fact, 33 per cent believe that the chances of getting cancer are mainly due to a family history of the disease.

This is even though only 5 per cent to 10 per cent of cancers are actually linked to inherited genes.

"It's very alarming to see that such a large number of people don't know that there's a lot they can do to significantly reduce their risk of getting cancer," said WCRF general manager Amanda McLean.

Call to raise cancer prevention awareness

"We would like all sectors of society - including the government, manufacturers, retailers and charities - to work together to raise cancer prevention awareness.

"By making lifestyle changes today, we can help prevent cancer tomorrow."

The charity is currently working alongside the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to encourage people to take steps to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Eating a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruit, pulses and whole grains can help cut a person's risk of the disease.

Physical activity can help fight cancer

Maintaining a healthy weight with a BMI between 18.5 and 25 can also help, as can being physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.

WCRF claims that about a third of the most common cancers in the UK could be prevented through a combination of all three steps.

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