In the American Association for Cancer Research’s mammoth new cancer progress report lies the sad fact that about half of the 585,720 cancer deaths expected to occur in the United States this year are related to preventable behaviors. For a disease that often seems (and is) so senseless, it turns out that many cases can be avoided with lifestyle tweaks.
Smoking is the biggest one, associated with nearly 33 percent of preventable cancer diagnoses:
Top Preventable Causes of Cancer
American Association for Cancer Research
But as this graph shows, a combination of weight problems, poor diet, and exercise account for another third of all preventable cancers. Being overweight or obese is linked to colorectal, endometrial, gallbladder, kidney, pancreatic, and postmenopausal breast cancer.
The good news is that some kinds of cancer—like lung cancer—are on the decline.
“The cancers that are increasing are the ones that are associated with obesity,” said AACR spokesman and University of Pennsylvania cancer epidemiologist Timothy Rebbeck.
Rebbeck confirmed that so far, the public-health message on obesity has tended to sidestep the cancer risk.
“There’s been more education in the population about the link between obesity and diabetes,” Rebbeck said.
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*Image of “raspberry smoothie” via Shutterstock