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Science

Healthy lifestyles promoted to prevent disease on World Cancer Day

On the occasion of World Cancer Day, nations are releasing alarming statistics on the disease, attempting to promote healthier living. Incidences of cancer deaths are on the rise despite being preventable.

Cancer cells

Incidences of cancer are rising, according to the WHO

Cancer was the cause of death for one in four Germans who died in 2009, according to a statement released Thursday by the federal statistics office.

Of a total of 216,128 cancer-related deaths, the most common form was lung and bronchial cancer, which claimed 42,221 lives. The age group worst affected was made up of people between the ages of 45 and 65.

According to 2009 data, 29 percent of EU citizens polled were smokers, a decrease of 3 percent from 2006, and smoking bans continue to be unveiled across Europe with varying success.

But lung cancer is not the only threat. Among women, breast cancer is the largest cancer threat, according to the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).

"In Germany 58,000 women are diagnosed with cancer each year," Jenny Chang-Claude, researcher with the DKFZ said in a January statement. "Therefore a key question is whether there are behavioral changes that might help to lower the disease risk."

Healthier living

An ashtray full of cigarettes

Smoking increases the likelihood of suffering form lung cancer

The research at the DKFZ revealed that up to 30 percent of postmenopausal breast cancer cases could be avoided by more exercise and refraining from hormone replacement therapy.

The American Institute for Cancer Research and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) also suggested that making simple lifestyle changes could make the difference in the fight against cancer.

"It is distressing that even in 2011, people are dying unnecessarily from cancers that could be prevented through maintaining a healthy weight, diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors," Martin Wiseman, a WCRF medical and scientific adviser, said in statement.

The findings from the WCRF are seconded by World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, which promote regular exercise as a preventative against many diseases such as cancer, heart diseases and diabetes.

Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 7.9 million deaths in 2007 and deaths from cancer are projected to continue to rise worldwide, with an estimated 12 million deaths in 2030, according to the WHO.

Author: Stuart Tiffen (Reuters, AFP)

Editor: Sean Sinico

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