Colon cancer cases ‘may rise 50%’

New research suggests that alongside physical inactivity being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for colon cancer....

The UK is heading for a 50% increase in the number of new colon cancer cases over the next 30 years, says an international team of scientists.

Dr Andrew Renehan, from the University of Manchester, and one of the authors of the research carried out by Imperial College London for the World Cancer Research Fund, used computer models to predict what would happen to cancer rates in a variety of scenarios.

The forecast, in the European Journal of Cancer, is for 35,000 new cases a year by 2040, compared with 23,000 now. Two of the biggest risk factors for colon cancer are physical inactivity and being overweight or obese, and if the UK reached US levels that could add another 2,000 to the total, they say.

But if that does not happen, and there is a modest increase in activity, then that rise turns into a similar-sized fall. And if the UK managed to match levels of physical exercise in The Netherlands – the best among the countries studied, that would prevent approximately 2,000 cases.

Another researcher, Professor Jan-Willem Coebergh, from Erasmus University in The Netherlands, said: ‘We can safely say increasingl physical activity across Europe to the level already achieved in The Netherlands, where everybody cycles, would be of substantial benefit.’

And a second study published at the same time appeared to show a small additional risk not just for obese people, but anyone carrying excess fat around their middle – even if their overall weight appears near-normal.

In the group studied, every additional inch of waistline from the slimmest to the biggest-waisted meant an extra 2% risk of bowel cancer, even when the BMI of the person was accounted for in the calculations.

What do you think about this new study? Does it make you want to exercise more? Let us know your thoughts and comments below…

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