Making healthier lifestyle choices could reduce the risk of cancer by up to a third, claimed scientists from Cardiff University.
Popular New Year’s resolutions – including maintaining a healthy diet, exercising more regularly and limiting alcohol intake – could help to ward off cancer, they said.
The scientists urged people to stick by their resolutions, as a healthy lifestyle has many benefits – not just a reduction in cancer risk.
More than 350,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year.
“The take-home message is that healthy behaviours can have a truly tangible benefit,” said leader of the research, Professor Peter Elwood.
“A healthy lifestyle has may benefits additional to cancer reduction – it costs nothing, has no undesirable side effects…. and is better than any pill.”
The scientists analysed 500,000 individuals’ behaviour and lifestyle choices as part of the study.
They identified their healthy behaviours, and compared them to the risk of cancer over several years.
Combining all of the healthy lifestyle choices together would reduce the risk of cancer by up to a third, they revealed.
Each healthy behaviour – regular exercise or a healthy diet, for example – lowered the risk of cancer by about eight per cent.
Now, the scientists want to find the very best lifestyle choices, and to create realistic recommendations to lower the risk of cancer.
“Perhaps the advice to take up one additional healthy behaviour is the most acceptable message for most subjects,” said Elwood.
More than 160,000 people died from cancer in the UK in 2014, said Cancer Research UK.
Almost half of all cancer cases are preventable, it added.
Meanwhile, it was also revealed that eating more wholegrain foods could lower the risk of colon cancer.
Wholegrain are packed full of fibre, which is important in lowering the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, according to the British Nutrition Foundation.