Cancer 'the biggest cause of ill health linked to major preventable factors'

19 October 2016

A new US study has demonstrated the severe impact that cancer can have on healthy living as a consequence of preventable risk factors.

Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the research showed that 11 of the 15 cancers with the most impact on healthy years of life lost in the US are closely linked to smoking and alcohol - two of the biggest preventable risk factors known to medical science.

The US burden of cancer in 2011 was estimated at more than 9.8 million disability-adjusted life years, which was equally shared among men and women. In 91 per cent of cases, this was because of cancer-related premature death, rather than quality of life impairments among survivors.

Lung cancer was by far the largest contributor of the loss of healthy years among all cancer types, accounting for 24 per cent of the burden. After this was breast cancer at ten per cent, with colorectal (nine per cent), pancreatic (six per cent), prostate (five per cent), leukaemia (four per cent), liver (four per cent), brain (three per cent), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (three per cent) and ovarian (three per cent) cancer coming further down the list.

The study authors concluded that their research "stresses the need to direct efforts to prevent premature death, particularly at middle age, through broad implementation of known effective interventions from primary prevention to early detection and treatment".

Posted by Jeanette Royston


Health News is provided by Axonn Media in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Axonn Media and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)