Link between lifestyle and cancer risk

Around a third of the most common cancers could be prevented through lifestyle changes

According to the World Health Organization, four non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – cancers, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and diabetes – are responsible for 80% of all deaths from NCDs worldwide.

Our own analysis of global research shows that about a third of the most common cancers can be prevented through diet, maintaining a healthy weight and taking regular physical activity.

There is a clear link between lifestyle and NCDs, so behaviour change is key to preventing and controlling NCDs, particularly as the number of cancer cases is expected to rise globally over the next two decades.

On these pages, we highlight specific lifestyle factors and their link to cancer; this includes:

  • looking at the research analysis we conduct as part of our Continuous Update Project (CUP) – the world’s largest, most authoritative and up-to-date source of scientific research on cancer prevention and survivorship through diet, nutrition, physical activity and cancer.
  • referencing additional external research on lifestyle patterns across different populations and their implications for developing cancer.