Smoking, obesity, poor nutrition: many cancer risks can be avoided
The Federal Ministry of Health and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recently announced that the number of new cancer diagnoses in Germany has almost doubled. According to health experts, at least a third of cancer cases would be avoidable if everyone were more consistent about a healthy lifestyle.
The number of new cancer diagnoses has doubled
According to a recent survey, most Germans fear cancer. Around 70 percent of Germans stated that they were afraid of a tumor. For many, fear is certainly not unfounded, because according to the latest figures, the number of new cancer diagnoses in Germany has almost doubled since 1970. And that, although many diseases could be avoided by reducing the personal risk of cancer, my health experts.
At least a third of the cancer cases would be avoidable
"At least a third of cancer cases would be avoidable if every single one consistently paid attention to a healthy lifestyle," writes the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in a message.
According to the experts, it is the task of politics to support the citizens with suitable social framework conditions. Several such policies have been implemented in the area of tobacco prevention in recent years. So far, however, politicians have done little about other, equally avoidable cancer risk factors.
Prevention of obesity and excessive alcohol consumption
"It is time to learn from tobacco control and to transfer the anti-smoking policies to prevent obesity and excessive alcohol consumption," said Manfred James Müller, spokesman for the Competence Network Obesity.
A health-conscious lifestyle can also minimize other cancer risk factors. This includes, among other things, avoiding massive overweight (obesity), which can account for up to ten percent of all cancer cases.
The consumption of alcohol should also be restricted, because according to experts, this can cause seven different types of cancer. According to the DKFZ, increased alcohol consumption and a low-fruit and vegetable diet each cause around five percent of new cancer cases.
In addition, everyone should ensure adequate physical activity, because exercise not only prevents obesity and type 2 diabetes, but also lowers the risk of 13 types of cancer.
Smoking is responsible for 20 percent of all cancer cases
However, giving up smoking is particularly important. "Smoking remains the single most important preventable risk factor for cancer - it alone is responsible for at least 20 percent of all cancer cases," said Ute Mons, head of the Cancer Prevention Unit and the WHO Collaborative Center for Tobacco Control at the DKFZ.
Although several policies have been implemented in the area of tobacco prevention over the past few years that have led to fewer and fewer smokers in Germany, the trend towards non-smoking must be sustainably supported by further tobacco control measures.
According to the DKFZ, an important step towards this is the long overdue comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising. "Tobacco advertising in particular encourages young people to smoke and motivates smokers to continue smoking," said Reiner Hanewinkel from the Institute for Therapy and Health Research in Kiel. (ad)