The World of Cancer By Mrs Vera West

     A study has confirmed that about 41 percent of cancers are caused by the environment and lifestyles:
But you don’t need to swim through the technicalities of the paper, as there is a neat summary provided by the authors:

Background: Estimates of the proportion of cancer cases that can be attributed to modifiable risk factors are not available for Canada and, more specifically, Alberta. The purpose of this study was to estimate the total proportion of cancer cases in Alberta in 2012 that could be attributed to a set of 24 modifiable lifestyle and environmental risk factors.

Methods: We estimated summary population attributable risk estimates for 24 risk factors (smoking [both passive and active], overweight and obesity, inadequate physical activity, diet [inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, inadequate fibre intake, excess red and processed meat consumption, salt consumption, inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake], alcohol, hormones [oral contraceptives and hormone therapy], infections [Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C viruses, human papillomavirus, Helicobacter pylori], air pollution, natural and artificial ultraviolet radiation, radon and water disinfection by-products) by combining population attributable risk estimates for each of the 24 factors that had been previously estimated. To account for the possibility that individual cancer cases were the result of a combination of multiple risk factors, we subtracted the population attributable risk for the first factor from 100% and then applied the population attributable risk for the second factor to the remaining proportion that was not attributable to the first factor. We repeated this process in sequential order for all relevant exposures.

Results: Overall, an estimated 40.8% of cancer cases in Alberta in 2012 were attributable to modifiable lifestyle and environmental risk factors. The largest proportion of cancers were estimated to be attributable to tobacco smoking, physical inactivity and excess body weight. The summary population attributable risk estimate was slightly higher among women (42.4%) than among men (38.7%).

Interpretation: About 41% of cancer cases in Alberta may be attributable to known modifiable lifestyle and environmental risk factors. Reducing the prevalence of these factors in the Alberta population has the potential to substantially reduce the provincial cancer burden.”

     The take-home lesson is to avoid excess red meat, especially processed meat, reduce salt intake, avoid highly processed foods, reduce sugar intake, and to exercise. Doing this can not only reduce cancer risk, but will improve cardiovascular health , and thus reduce the risks of heart attack and stroke. It’s easy.



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Tuesday, 22 September 2020
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