Lifestyle factors such as physical activity and diet have been shown to affect the risk of several cancers. The Cancer Registry has several current projects examining the relationship between fitness and physical activity, diet and cancer risk.
Diet has an impact on cancer risk, particularly for colorectal cancers. A healthy diet that can slow the development, and decrease the risk of colorectal cancer is rich in fibre and dairy, and low in processed meat, red meat and alcohol.
Both physical activity and a healthy diet prevent the development of overweight and obesity, which are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, as well as cancer of the uterus, ovary, prostate, mouth, throat, palate, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas and gallbladder.
Although we currently know a lot about how physical activity and diet affect cancer risk, we need more research and knowledge in order to provide more targeted dietary guidelines in many areas including:
- More population-based studies with valid measurements of level of physical activity and diet over time, in order to obtain more knowledge of how these factors affect cancer risk and mortality.
- Studies into the biological mechanisms of how physical activity and diet affect cancer development.
- Studies showing the importance of lifestyle changes, as well as more knowledge on effective interventions to influence the population to make positive changes in lifestyle habits and diet.