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Healthy lifestyle could prevent 40 000 new cancer cases

Bowel and breast cancer are the most avoidable through diet and exercise, research shows.

Improving the nation's diet and increasing physical activity could prevent almost 43,000 new cancer cases and save $674 million in healthcare costs, medical research shows.

It's commonly known that eating well and exercising regularly helps prevent cancer.

But Australian experts have sought to narrow down just how effective a healthy lifestyle can be in warding off the killer disease.

The study, carried out by Associate Professor Peter Baade and co-authors at the Cancer Council Queensland's research centre, estimated there would be 170,000 new cancer diagnoses in 2025 - 60 per cent up on 2007 levels.

However, that figure could be reduced by almost 43,000 new cases through healthy eating habits and increased exercise, the study said.

Researchers rated bowel cancer as the most avoidable, with 10,049 cases potentially preventable.

Female breast cancer was the next most preventable variety.

It would also save the nation $674 million in healthcare costs, it said.

The study's authors say their research should spur governments and policymakers to act.

"Governments must act now, and act vigorously, in order to reduce the significant human and financial burden of cancer in the future," they wrote.

The full research was published yesterday in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia.


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