Obesity and inactivity could someday account for more cancer deaths than smoking if current trends continue, a leading cancer expert says.
As the rate of smoking decreases, other unhealthy habits threaten to offset the progress in reducing cancer deaths, says Richard Wender, a physician and chief cancer control officer at the American Cancer Society (ACS). A study in the New England Journal of Medicine last fall found 13 types of cancer were linked to excess body weight.
Calculating cancer’s link to obesity is difficult in part because of an overlap in cancer risk factors, says ACS’ Rebecca Siegel, While 20% of cancers are caused by poor diet, alcohol consumption, a lack of physical activity and/or excess weight, that can’t be combined with the 30% of cancer deaths caused by cigarette smoking. That’s because poor people are more likely to be obese and to smoke than more affluent people, says Siegel, strategic director of ACS’ surveillance information services.
A striking 50% of all cancer deaths could be prevented by following the basics of a healthy lifestyle, says Wender. That includes diet and exercise and having regular cancer screenings and getting the HPV vaccine that helps prevent cervical cancer and likely oral cancer and for Hepatitis B, which can lead to liver cancer. Read more at USA TODAY.