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Healthy lifestyle "cuts cancer risk"

Thousands of cases of cancer could be prevented every year if people ate more fruit and vegetables and reduced the amount of alcohol and red meat they consume, according to a World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) study.

The WCRF discovered around 39% of 12 major cancers could be prevented if people led a healthy lifestyle. This included 43% of bowel cancer and 42% of breast cancer cases.

The wide-ranginging study also found 3,300 cases (67%) of mouth, larynx and pharynx cancer could be prevented each year by an increase in the amount of fresh veg and fruit consumed and a reduction in the amount of alcohol drunk.

A healthy lifestyle with some exercise would prevent 75% of cases of cancer of the oesophagus, or around 5,800 instances a year.

Meanwhile, 45% of stomach cancer cases, about 3,500 a year, could be reduced by eating more fruit and vegetables and cutting down on salt.

Pancreatic cancer could also be reduced by 41% and kidney cancer by 19% if a healthly lifestyle was sustained.

The report - Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention - was written by 23 leading experts from around the world.

The WCRF recommends that people wishing to help prevent cancer should keep themselves as lean as possible without becoming underweight, and eat five portions of fruit and veg each day.

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World Cancer Research Fund