Healthier lifestyles could have prevented over half a million cancer cases

Nearly 600,000 cancer cases in the UK could have been avoided in the last five years if people had healthier lifestyles according to new Cancer Research UK figures.

The charity is urging people to consider their health when making New Year resolutions. For example, limiting alcohol intake, improving nutrition and doing regular exercise is  good advice.

Smoking remains by far the biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK, accounting for more than 314,000 cases in the past five years – nearly a fifth of all cancers. So giving up cigarettes would be the best New Year resolution smokers could make.

But the charity’s new figures show a further 145,000 cases could have been prevented if people had eaten a healthy balanced diet low in red and processed meat and salt, and high in vegetables, fruit and fibre. Keeping a healthy weight could have prevented around 88,000 cases.

Cutting down on alcohol, protecting skin in the sun and taking more exercise could also have helped prevent tens of thousands of people in the UK developing cancer in the past five years.