Visitors toast each other on a sunny day during Oktoberfest in Munich, September 27, 2008.
Visitors toast each other on a sunny day during Oktoberfest in Munich, September 27, 2008. REUTERS

It is well known that one's lifestyle choices can also contribute to an increased risk for cancer. A new study recently revealed that this very factor has caused nearly 587,000 people in Britain to develop cancer in a span of five years. Cancer Research UK or CRUK found that smoking and drinking were major causative factors. Researchers specified that the risk could be lowered by 40 per cent by adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Pointing towards the influencing factors, Linda Bauld, an expert on cancer prevention at CRUK, said that genes and our lifestyle cause nearly 200 types of cancer. The study also highlighted that eating habits, such as an excessive intake of red meat and a low intake of fruits and vegetables, led to 144,800 cancer cases. Obesity and alcohol were the causes of 144,800 and 62,200 cancer cases, respectively.

The major cause, however, was found to be tobacco. The number of cases caused by smoking was 314,600. CRUK stated that the number of cases would be drastically reduced if just one per cent of the smokers would quit the habit and adopt a healthier lifestyle. This would pull down the number of cases in Britain by 3000.

"Leading a healthy lifestyle can't guarantee someone won't get cancer but we can stack the odds in our favour by taking positive steps now that will help decrease our cancer risk in [the] future," Max Parkin, a statistician from Queen Mary University of London, stated in a press release. The charity aims to bring awareness among people about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. At a time when people will over indulge in sweets and fatty foods due to the festive season, the CRUK wants to educate them to manage their eating habits well.

It also strongly recommended that one must not consume an excess of alcohol, as well as to exercise as much as possible to stay fit.

BBC reported that Public Health England states that anti-smoking campaigns, such as Smokefree, Dry January and Change4Life Sugar Swaps, also aim to increase awareness among the masses.