New research has revealed how people in Ayrshire and Arran can help prevent cancer by making lifestyle changes. According to a study by Cancer Research UK almost half of all cancers diagnosed in the UK could be prevented by lifestyle changes.
Smoking is implicated in one in every five of all cancer cases with smokers being 21 times more likely to develop lung cancer compared to non-smokers.
It is not just smokers who are at greater risk. People exposed to second-hand smoke in the home are more likely to develop lung cancer than those living in smoke-free homes.
The study found differences between men and women in terms of risk factors.
the report found that in men, smoking and lack of fruit and vegetables in their diet were the top two risk factors.
For women, smoking and being overweight were the main risk factors. Infection was a contributing factor in women because of the role of human papilloma virus (HPV) in cervical cancer.
This study shows that many cases of cancer could be avoided by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Steps people can take to reduce their risk of cancer include: Eating more fruit and vegetables, Stopping smoking, Avoiding excessive, alcohol intake, Maintaining a healthy weight, Avoiding using sunbeds and protecting your skin in the sun,
HPV vaccine is offered to young women to help prevent cervical cancer.
Dr Carol Davidson, Executive Director of Public Health said: ”Every year about 30,000 people in Scotland are told they have cancer, and this number is rising. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Scotland. People often assume that cancer is unavoidable, perhaps with the exception of lung cancer, where the link with smoking is well understood.
“This study shows that thousands of cases of cancer could be avoided each year in Scotland by people adopting a healthier lifestyle.
“These lifestyle changes can also help reduce our risk of other common diseases including heart disease, stroke, asthma and non-insulin dependent diabetes.”