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

 


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