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UK matching US on cancer cases

The UK is matching America on the number of cancer cases that could be prevented if people were healthier, an expert has said.

Eating a diet full of fruit and vegetables, taking regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight could prevent about a third (80,000) of cancer cases in the UK, figures have shown.

But a new analysis reveals the US has a similar figure, despite higher rates of obesity.

Although rates of obesity are lower in the UK, Britons drink more alcohol.

For example, an estimated 20% of breast cancer cases in the UK are linked to drinking too much - double the estimate for the US.

Professor Martin Wiseman, scientific and medical adviser for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), said: "Because we read so much about America's problems with obesity and junk food, people may find it surprising that the proportion of cancer cases related to diet, physical activity and weight is just as bad here in the UK.

"It is true that a higher proportion of cancer cases in the US are linked to body fat, but not by much.

"In the US, we estimate that for the seven types of cancer that are weight related, just under 20% could be prevented through people being a healthy weight. In the UK, this figure is about 17%.

"But one reason the overall situation in the UK is as bad is the amount of alcohol we drink.

"This means we need to do more to raise awareness that alcohol increases cancer risk."