According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, after heart disease. The Mirror informs that cancer is a disease in which cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably – these cancerous cells invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including major organs.
A new shocking study, published in The Lancet journey has revealed that nearly half of the global deaths due to cancer are caused by three preventable lifestyle risk factors.
Also, recent statistics state that one in every two people will have cancer in their lifetime.
The research is reported to have found that 44.4% of all cancer deaths could be attributable to preventable risk factors in 2019 – during this same year, smoking, drinking alcohol and obesity were found to be the biggest risk factors.
CNN health reports that the paper, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, analysed the relationship between risk factors and cancer, using data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease project.
Writing in the study, Dr Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, and his colleagues reportedly said, “To our knowledge, this study represents the largest effort to date to determine the global burden of cancer attributable to risk factors, and it contributes to a growing body of evidence aimed at estimating the risk-attributable burden for specific cancers nationally, internationally, and globally.”
The project reportedly collects and analyses global data on deaths and disability. Murray and his colleagues zeroed in on cancer deaths and disability from (2010 to 2019) across 204 countries, examining 23 cancer types and 34 risk factors, said CNN health.
Based on research into 10million people who had died from cancer – smoking was reported to be the biggest risk factor, accounting for 33.9%.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that smokers are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer (or die from it) in comparison to those who don’t smoke. This includes those people who smoke a few cigarettes a day, and also those who smoke occasionally.
The Mirror explains, chemicals from cigarettes damage DNA. It also makes it harder for cells to repair any DNA damage, and also damages parts of DNA that protect us from cancer.
“Robust scientific evidence shows that being overweight or obese increases the risk of 13 different types of cancer,” states Cancer Research UK.
Obesity reportedly increases the risk of some of the following cancers: breast and bowel, gallbladder, pancreatic, oesophageal, kidney, liver, and upper stomach.
According to Cancer Research, “Alcohol gets broken down into harmful chemicals and can also affect our body’s chemical signals, making cancer more likely to develop.”
The Mirror informs that alcohol can cause seven different types of cancer including breast, mouth and bowel cancer.
“These findings highlight that a substantial proportion of cancer burden globally has potential for prevention through interventions aimed at reducing exposure to known cancer risk factors but also that a large proportion of cancer burden might not be avoidable through control of the risk factors currently estimated,” said the researchers.
They reportedly added, “Thus, cancer risk reduction efforts must be coupled with comprehensive cancer control strategies that include efforts to support early diagnosis and effective treatment.”