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>40% of Cancers, Cancer Deaths Due to Modifiable Risk Factors

Cigarette smoking accounts for highest proportion of cancer cases (19.0 percent), deaths (28.8 percent)

woman smoking

FRIDAY, Dec. 1, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- An estimated 42.0 percent of all incident cancers and 45.1 percent of cancer deaths in the United States are attributed to potentially modifiable risk factors, according to a study published online Nov. 21 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Farhad Islami, M.D., Ph.D., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues estimated the proportion and number of invasive cancer cases and deaths overall (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers), and for 26 cancer types in U.S. adults aged 30 years and older that were attributed to major, potentially modifiable exposures.

The researchers found that an estimated 42.0 percent of all incident cancers (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers) and 45.1 percent of cancer deaths were attributed to the assessed risk factors (cigarette smoking; secondhand smoke; excess body weight; alcohol intake; consumption of red and processed meat; low consumption of fruits/vegetables, dietary fiber, and dietary calcium; physical inactivity; ultraviolet radiation; and six cancer-associated infections). The highest proportion of cancer cases and death (19.0 and 28.8 percent, respectively) were attributed to cigarette smoking, followed by excess body weight (7.8 and 6.5 percent, respectively) and alcohol intake (5.6 and 4.0 percent, respectively). Lung cancer had the highest number of cancers and deaths attributable to the evaluated risk factors, followed by colorectal cancer.

"These findings underscore the vast potential for reducing cancer morbidity and mortality through broad and equitable implementation of known preventive measures," the authors write.

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