Smoking, alcohol consumption, overweight, unhealthy eating and lack of physical activity were associated with a third of deaths caused by 20 typescancerin Brazil, according to a new study. Published in scientific journalsCancer Epidemiology, work shows that of the total annual tumor cases, at least 114,000 (27% of the total) will be avoided by a healthier lifestyle. And 63,000 lives (34% of the total) can be avoided.
The data comes from investigations carried out by researchers from the University of São Paulo Medical Faculty (FM-USP) and Harvard University in the United States, with support from the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (FAPESP).
According to the survey, the incidence of lung, larynx, oropharynx, esophagus, colon and rectum cancer will decrease by half if the five risk factors are completely eliminated. "According to some previous studies, there is no other measure that can prevent so many cases," said Leandro Rezende, a researcher at FM-USP and one of the authors of the article. "Primary prevention through lifestyle modification is one of the most interesting and realistic approaches to disease control in Brazil," he said in an interview with Agência Fapesp.
Cancer is one of the main causes of death in Brazil. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the hope is that, by 2025, cases will increase by 50% in the country, mainly by population growth and aging.
There is consensus in the scientific literature that smoking, inactivity, alcohol consumption, being overweight and an unbalanced diet are associated with the development of 20 types of tumors. Among other things, a new study calculates fraction-attributable population (FAP) – a metric that can estimate the proportion of cases to be avoided if these five risk factors are omitted from the entire population – in this cancer.
It is on this basis that the researchers produced the data we mentioned earlier. In addition, they identified how each of these habits affected, separately, the number of cancers in Brazil, even separated by sex.
According to the analysis, smoking is responsible for 67,000 cases and 40,000 deaths per year in Brazil. He led this shameful ranking, followed by overweight (21 thousand episodes of illness and 13 thousand deaths) and alcohol consumption (16 thousand cases and 9 thousand deaths).
"We have made a lot of progress in the past ten years, with several laws and actions that have reduced the prevalence of smoking by more than half. However, it remains a major cause of cancer," said Rezende. "This reinforces the need for marketing campaigns, costs and restrictions," he added.
In analysis based on sex, men and women are influenced differently. In the male wing, smoking has a greater impact on cancer prevalence than inadequate diets, being overweight, lack of physical activity, and alcohol consumption simultaneously. In women, the opposite occurs: the number of the last four factors is more dominant than smoking.
"The difference is, because the prevalence of smoking is still higher among men in Brazil. But that's not all: women are more influenced by other factors. They lack physical activity and have a higher body mass index," Rezende concluded.
This content was produced by Agência Fapesp.