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November 18, 2005

Research Finds Nine Behavioral and Environmental Risk Factors Play a Major Role in Causing Deaths from Cancer Globally

Topics: Health Issues
... obesity, low fruit and vegetable intake, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol use, unsafe sex, urban air pollution, indoor smoke from household use of coal and contaminated injections in healthcare settings.
In a report appearing in the November 19, 2005 issue of The Lancet, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and a network of collaborators estimated mortality for 12 types of cancer linked to nine risk factors in seven World Bank regions for the year 2001.

The researchers found that of the seven million deaths worldwide in 2001, 35 percent were attributable to the nine well-known behavioral and environmental risk factors. The researchers also looked at how the risks, and the cancers they cause, were distributed over the regions of the world. This is the first assessment of the role of health risks in cancer deaths globally and regionally.

The analysis covered all high-income countries together, and separated low-income and middle-income countries into geographical regions: East Asia and Pacific, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The nine risk factors were overweight and obesity, low fruit and vegetable intake, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol use, unsafe sex, urban air pollution, indoor smoke from household use of coal and contaminated injections in healthcare settings.

They found that more than one in every three of the seven million deaths from cancer worldwide was caused by these nine potentially modifiable risk factors (2.43 million), with alcohol and smoking playing large roles in all income levels and regions. Worldwide, the nine risk factors caused 1.6 million cancer deaths among men and 830,000 among women. Smoking alone is estimated to have caused 21 percent of deaths from cancer worldwide.

Over 6 million people around the world die from cancer each year. Modifiable risk factors have been linked to a wide range of malignancies, including cancers of the oropharynx, oesophagus, larynx, lung, kidney, bladder, pancreas, skin, stomach, ovary, breast, cervix, uterus, prostate, and colon.

ACS Statistics for 2004
Penciling in a Possible Diet-Cancer Connection

Posted by Richard at November 18, 2005 3:46 PM



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