Figures from World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) reveal that 1,063 people are diagnosed with cancer daily in the UK. However, around 155,000 of these cancers could be prevented annually, an increase of 8,000 preventable cases compared to 2017 data, if people followed WCRF’s Cancer Prevention Recommendations and avoided smoking and sun exposure.
Released by WCRF, the figures also include new UK incidence and mortality data and information on how many cancer cases could be prevented. The figures – which are the latest available for the UK – show that 387,820 people were diagnosed with cancer in 2019 – 2020, which is more than 1,000 people every day.
Breast, followed by lung cancer, remains the most common cancer in the UK. Overall, there were more cancer cases in men than in women. In 2019–2020, 166,502 people died from cancer, with lung cancer making up over 20% of cancer deaths.
These figures were produced during Covid, and it will be important to understand the impact of the pandemic on cancer incidence and how it changed the provision of cancer services, including screening.
Around 40% of cancers could be prevented through lifestyle changes such as eating healthily, being active, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking. Other ways include avoiding drinking alcohol, eating no more than three portions of red meat a week and little processed meat, breastfeeding if you can, and being safe in the sun.
A healthy diet for cancer prevention consists of a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and very little junk food, including sugary drinks, all of which are part of WCRF’s Cancer Prevention Recommendations.
Dr Vanessa Gordon-Dseagu, research interpretation manager at WCRF, said: ‘Over the years, research has estimated that around 40% of cancers are associated with modifiable risk factors. These risk factors include smoking and limiting sun exposure. Alongside this, research has shown that individuals can reduce their cancer risk by following WCRF’s Cancer Prevention Recommendations.’
‘It is also important to remember that our population is ageing, so we are likely to see cancer incidence increase over the next few decades. Screening plays a vital role in improving cancer outcomes – the earlier someone is diagnosed, the more likely they are to survive.’
For more information on the recent cancer deaths and survival statistics, please visit here.