Obesity could become chief cancer cause

More people in the UK are overweight and obesity is “increasingly normal” Cancer Research UK warned

Cancer Research has also expressed its concern over excess weight and obesity - the second leading preventable cause of cancer - which accounts for 6.3% of all United Kingdom cancer cases.

Half of smokers diagnosed with cancer develop lung cancer, but smoking can lead to bowel cancer, bladder cancer, or oesophageal cancer among many others.

Cancer Research UK found overexposure to UV radiation caused about 13,600 cases of melanoma skin cancer a year - or 3.8% of all cancer cases.

As a result, obesity is on course to overtake smoking as the main preventable cause of the deadly disease.

Exposure to substances such as asbestos and UV radiation in the workplace each caused nearly 4% of cancer cases, while air pollution, consumption of processed meat and not breastfeeding each accounted for less than 2% of cancer cases.

"Obesity is a huge health threat right now, and it will only get worse if nothing is done".

Nearly two thirds of Britons are overweight or obese, which is up from half 25 years ago.

Getting rid of smoking tobacco, exercising and shedding weight may be key lifestyle behaviours that can cut down thousands of cancer cases a week, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

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Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said the figures showed that individuals could take positive steps to reduce their risk of cancer. At the time, she was almost 20 stone.

The CRUK research team hopes authorities would help curb cancer rates through tobacco and junk food taxes, advertising bans, and tiresome packaging for cigarettes.

The CRUK study has examined lesser known causes including a lack of fibre in your diet, not enough exercise, air pollution and processed meat.

The research team says the new United Kingdom cancer rates have increased by 7% over the past decade which could be increased by about 2% every year.

But he said the idea that obesity itself or eating too little fibre "causes" cancer was "somewhat simplistic" and still needed to be explored further.

"It's clear from this research that obesity is a major problem".

"Given the now high rates of obesity in young people, this represents (like cigarette smoking) a major societal challenge beyond the bounds of the medical arena".

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