Nearly 80,000 cases of cancer could be prevented each year if people ate healthily, exercised and were not overweight, figures suggest.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), only 60% of people in the UK know diet and cancer are linked, 59% know the disease’s link with excess body fat and 45% know exercising can help.
The charity studied 12 common cancers and estimated that 78,700 cases were avoidable, including 19,100 cases of breast cancer and 16,100 bowel cancer cases.
Professor Martin Wiseman, WRCF medical and scientific adviser, said: “These estimates set out in stark terms just how high the stakes are and show what could be achieved through making relatively simple lifestyle changes.
“Many people still think of cancer as a question of fate but this emphasises that people can significantly reduce their risk by eating healthily, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.
“When you consider that these estimates do not include the cancers that would be prevented through not smoking, it is clear that cancer is actually a largely preventable disease.’
The WCRF recommends people exercise for 30 minutes a day, maintain a healthy weight, and eat fruit and vegetables rather than rely on supplements.