Age, lifestyle, diet and cancer risk
There are many factors involved in the development of cancer. We can’t control all of them, for example our age. However, things such as smoking or sun exposure can increase our risk of developing cancer. So there are things we can do to reduce our risk.
This information is also available throughout the eating well section of the website.
One of the biggest risk factors is increasing age. Cancer can occur at any age but the risk of developing a cancer increases as we get older. More than three out of five people who get cancer (63%) are over the age of 65, and more than a third (36%) are over 75.
We know that some things influence our risk of developing cancer. For example, smoking is a major cause of lung cancer and is a risk factor in other cancers, such as bladder cancer and cancers of the head and neck. Other factors that can increase our risk of developing cancer include heavy alcohol consumption and prolonged exposure to sunlight.
It’s also thought that diet can influence the development of some cancers, although the evidence is less clear. Diets containing too much red meat and processed meats, and not enough fresh fruit and vegetables, may increase your risk of developing some types of cancer such as breast, bowel and prostate cancer. Obesity has also been linked to some cancers, such as cancer of the breast, womb (endometrial cancer) or kidney.
We’ve recently reviewed and improved our information about diet and healthy eating, and our new diet and cancer booklets are slightly different to those mentioned in this video. They’re all still free to order on be.Macmillan.
The new booklets are:
Making positive changes
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You may be able to reduce your risk of developing some types of cancer by making lifestyle changes such as the following:
avoiding sun damage to your skin
not drinking heavily
eating a well-balanced diet, including five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables every day and not too much red or processed meat
having regular exercise.