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44% of cancer deaths are due to preventable factors

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Study reinforces that risk factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity, are related to mortality

One study found that 44.4% of all cancer deaths worldwide can be attributed to avoidable risk factors, such as smoking, consuming a lot of alcohol, and having a high body mass index (BMI). The research was published on the 18th by the journal The Lancet.

In addition, the data collected by the survey showed that cancer deaths attributable to these risk factors have been increasing worldwide: the increase was 20.4% between 2010 and 2019, going from 3.7 million to 4.45 million, according to the researchers. The regions with the highest mortality rate are Central Europe, East Asia, Latin America and Western Europe.



For Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, in the United States, and one of the authors of the study, the work “represents the largest effort to date to determine the global burden of cancer attributable to risk factors. risk”.

How was the study done?

The research, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, analyzed the relationship between risk factors and cancer based on data from the project. Global Burden of Disease (GBD) of Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

GBD collects and analyzes global data on deaths and disability cases. The study focused on analyzing cancer deaths and disabilities in 204 countries over the time frame from 2010 to 2019. It examined 23 types of cancer and 34 risk factors, including behavioral, metabolic, environmental and occupational risks.

Know more: Cancer cases in people under 50 are on the rise



In addition to the mortality rate, the survey also analyzed the indicator of “disability-adjusted life years lost”, a measure of years of life lost due to early death and years lived with disability due to sequelae caused by cancer. According to the study, 42% of healthy years lost may have been attributed to preventable risk factors.

What does the study bring new?

Despite cancer being the second leading cause of death worldwide, most studies look at single risk factors globally or multiple risk factors in specific countries. The new study takes a deeper global picture and reinforces that unhealthy lifestyle habits can lead to cancer and mortality from the disease.

According to the work, tobacco and alcohol use, unprotected sex, dietary risks and other behavioral factors were responsible for 3.7 million deaths and 87.8 million years lost due to disability in 2019. In addition, 50.6 % of all cancer deaths in men can be attributed to the risk factors studied, compared to 36.3% of all cancer deaths in women.

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The leading cause of cancer death related to preventable factors for men and women worldwide was trachea, bronchial and lung cancer, accounting for 36.9% of total deaths. Next, colon and rectal cancer (13.3%), esophageal cancer (9.7%) and stomach cancer (6.6%) appear in men; cervical cancer (17.9%), colon and rectal cancer (15.8%) and breast cancer (11%), in women.

In the results, the researchers noticed a gender difference between two risk categories: behavioral risks and environmental and occupational risks.

Among behavioral risks, men had nearly four times the years of life lost to disability due to cancer attributed to smoking, compared to women. Regarding alcohol consumption, the number was also higher: more than three times the time of disability from cancer than women.

Among environmental and occupational risks, such as greater exposure to carcinogens, cancer-related disability was three times higher among men (3.9%) than among women (1.3%).



Content for educational purposes only. Consult a Doctor.

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Disclaimer – (English version>) This content has been prepared based on information from research, additional publications, or the translation/verification work of a volunteer editor of this web council. This is a non-profit service. It is strongly recommended that all details and information published be carefully verified. We never allow medication recommendations, medication package inserts or any medication guidance. We never allow partisan politics as information.

Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.

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