1. The fraction of cancer attributable to lifestyle and environmental factors in the UK in 2010

Br J Cancer. 2011 Dec 6;105 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):S2-5. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.474.


The overall objective of the study is to estimate the percentage of cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) in the UK in 2010 that were the result of exposure to 14 major lifestyle, dietary and environmental risk factors: tobacco, alcohol, four elements of diet (consumption of meat, fruit and vegetables, fibre and salt), overweight, lack of physical exercise, occupation, infections, radiation (ionising and solar), use of hormones and reproductive history (breast feeding). The number of new cases attributable to suboptimal exposure levels in the past, relative to a theoretical optimum exposure distribution, is evaluated. For most of the exposures, the attributable fraction was calculated based on the distribution of exposure prevalence (around 2000), the difference from the theoretical optimum (by age group and sex) and the relative risk per unit difference. For tobacco smoking, the method developed by Peto et al (1992) was used, which relies on the ratio between observed incidence of lung cancer in smokers and that in non-smokers, to calibrate the risk. This article outlines the structure of the supplement - a section for each of the 14 exposures, followed by a Summary chapter, which considers the relative contributions of each factor to the total number of cancers diagnosed in the UK in 2010 that were, in theory, avoidable.

Publication types

  • Introductory Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Environment
  • Environmental Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology