Tobacco and alcohol are leading causes of cancer worldwide, study says

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About half of the world’s cancers are due to a specific risk factor, with tobacco and alcohol at the top of the list, according to a large study released on Thursday.

Preventive measures are essential, but they are not the panacea, warn the authors. “According to our analysis, 44.41% of cancer deaths in the world can be attributed to a specific risk factor”, considers the study, published in the Lancet as part of the global project Global Burden of Disease.

Thousands of researchers around the world are involved in this vast project, funded by the Bill Gates Foundation and of unprecedented scale. The objective is to deepen knowledge about cancer risk factors by region.

The first conclusions confirm that tobacco is the main factor that favors cancer (33.9%), followed by alcohol (7.4%), worldwide.

However, approximately half of cancers are not attributable to a particular risk factor, which shows that prevention is not enough.

Early diagnosis and effective treatment must be the other two pillars of a smart health policy.

Two epidemiologists unrelated to the study, Diana Sarfati and Jason Gurney, agree, in the same issue of the journal, with the conclusions of the analysis, although they warn that the data collected have deficiencies in some countries.

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