Cancer rate rise linked to lifestyle choices

June 23, 2014

There has been a rise in rates of lifestyle-linked cancers in England.

Liver rose substantially over the past decade - by 70 per cent among men and 60 per cent among women between 2003 and 2012. It now stands as the 18th most common form of cancer in the country, according to new figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Rates of , the most dangerous form of skin cancer, have risen by 78 per cent among men and 48 per cent among women over the same period. Now around 11,300 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma each year in England, making it the fifth most common cancer.

The main causes of are tobacco, infections with hepatitis B and C ,and excess alcohol consumption.

Overexposure to the sun has for some time been known to be a major factor in skin cancer cases. Experts have attributed the rise in to the popularity of package holidays over the last 50 years.

The ONS also said that rates of – more than 8 out of ten cases of which are caused by smoking – increased by nearly a fifth (18 per cent) among women between 2003 and 2012, although they dropped by 8 per cent in men.

The figures suggest that thousands of cancer diagnoses could be avoided each year if the population cut down on cigarettes and alcohol, ate more healthily and reduced the amount of time they spent in the sun.

Nicola Smith, Cancer Research UK's health information officer, said: "This sharp increase in liver cancer is extremely worrying, but it's still a relatively uncommon cancer and there are clear lifestyle changes people can make to lower their risk.

"Cutting down on alcohol and not smoking can lower your risk, as can taking precautions against hepatitis C infection like not sharing needles and practising safe sex.

"The explosion in package holidays to hot European beaches dating from the late 60s is probably part of the reason malignant melanoma rates continue to go up as the disease can take decades to develop.

"It's vital to avoid sunburn, both at home and abroad, by spending time in the shade when the sun is strongest, covering up and using at least SPF15 sunscreen for the parts of your body you can't cover."

Prostate, lung and bowel cancers remained were the most common cancers among English men in 2012, while the three most common cancers in women were breast, lung and bowel cancers.

Matt Wickenden, Cancer Research UK's senior statistical information officer, said that despite the rise there was cause for optimism, since survival rates had doubled over the last 40 years. "Half of all cancer patients will now survive the disease for at least 10 years," he said.

"Cancer Research UK wants to accelerate that progress over the next 20 years by increasing research on the early diagnosis of cancer and developing more effective, kinder treatments so that three-quarters of all patients will survive at least 10 years."

But, said Wickenden, the new figures showed clearly that it was vital to reduce smoking rates. "We're urging the Government to introduce plain, standardised tobacco packaging without delay to stop the next generation taking up the deadly habit that kills half of all long-term users.

Explore further: Anal cancer rates quadrupled since mid 70s

More information: The study findings are available online: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/c … istrations-2012.html

Related Stories

Anal cancer rates quadrupled since mid 70s

June 5, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Anal cancer rates in the UK have increased by nearly 300 per cent over the last 40 years, according to new figures published by Cancer Research UK.

Skin cancer rates five times higher than in 70s

April 23, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—The rates of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, are now five times higher than 40 years ago, according to figures announced by Cancer Research UK.

Global cancer death toll 50 per cent higher in men than women

February 14, 2014
Global cancer death rates are more than 50 per cent higher in men than women, according to figures published today (Friday) by Cancer Research UK.

Lung cancer rates climb by three quarters in women while halving in men

March 20, 2014
Lung cancer rates in women have risen by a staggering three quarters (73 per cent) over the last forty years according to new Cancer Research UK figures released today.

Half of all cancer patients now survive at least 10 years

April 29, 2014
Fifty per cent of people diagnosed with cancer today will survive their disease for at least 10 years, according to landmark figures published by Cancer Research UK today.

Preventable skin cancer up in Canada, study says

May 28, 2014
Melanoma cases are rising in Canada even though most other cancer rates are falling, a leading anti-cancer organization warned Wednesday, blaming tanning beds and slipping sunscreen use outdoors.

Recommended for you

Study may explain failure of retinoic acid trials against breast cancer

July 25, 2017
Estrogen-positive breast cancers are often treated with anti-estrogen therapies. But about half of these cancers contain a subpopulation of cells marked by the protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), which resists treatment—and breast ...

Physical activity could combat fatigue, cognitive decline in cancer survivors

July 25, 2017
A new study indicates that cancer patients and survivors have a ready weapon against fatigue and "chemo brain": a brisk walk.

Breaking the genetic resistance of lung cancer and melanoma

July 25, 2017
Researchers from Monash University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC, New York) have discovered why some cancers – particularly lung cancer and melanoma – are able to quickly develop deadly resistance ...

New therapeutic approach for difficult-to-treat subtype of ovarian cancer identified

July 24, 2017
A potential new therapeutic strategy for a difficult-to-treat form of ovarian cancer has been discovered by Wistar scientists. The findings were published online in Nature Cell Biology.

Immune cells the missing ingredient in new bladder cancer treatment

July 24, 2017
New research offers a possible explanation for why a new type of cancer treatment hasn't been working as expected against bladder cancer.

Anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent inhibits glioblastoma growth and radiation resistance

July 24, 2017
Glioblastoma is a primary brain tumor with dismal survival rates, even after treatment with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. A small subpopulation of tumor cells—glioma stem cells—is responsible for glioblastoma's ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.