Around 147,000 cancers could be prevented every year in the UK if people were, figures suggest.
The research from World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) shows that 366,303 people were diagnosed with cancer in 2017 – more than 1,000 people every day.
Breast cancer, followed by lung cancer, remain the most common cancers in the UK, and there were more cancer cases in men than in women.
In 2017, 165,267 people died from cancer, with lung cancer making up over 20% of deaths.
40% of cancers could be prevented by living more healthily
that means 147,000 cancers in the UK could be avoided each year by
not smoking, eating healthily, being active
and maintaining a healthy weight
Source: World Cancer Research Fund
The report states that around 40% of cancers could be prevented if everyone was healthier – this includes not smoking, eating healthily, being active and maintaining a healthy weight.
Other ways include drinking less alcohol, eating no more than three portions of red meat a week and little if any processed meat, and being safe in the sun.
Susannah Brown, head of research interpretation at WCRF, said: “We want to change the narrative so that people feel empowered to make healthier choices, instead of feeling defeatist about cancer as an inevitable future.”
The recent Marmot Review revealed that life expectancy in the UK has stalled for the first time in a century and health inequalities are increasing.
A healthy lifestyle reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases, however the report warned the environments in which we live can make it difficult for people to make those healthy choices.
Caroline Cerny, alliance lead at the Obesity Health Alliance, said the government has a key role to play in shaping an environment that supports health.
“A major part of this is addressing the tide of junk food marketing with a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts and restrictions on promotions,” she added.