The knowledge gap is a problem. Risk factors you can control, like body weight, diet, and exercise, are linked to a large number of cancers. The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 20% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are related to body fatness, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition, and thus could also be prevented.
“This survey illustrates that we’re missing a huge opportunity in cancer prevention," says Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, managing director of nutrition and physical activity at the American Cancer Society. "Lifestyle factors like body weight, healthy eating, and physical activity are second only to smoking as ways to reduce cancer risk. But we can’t expect people to change their behavior if they aren’t even aware of the connection." Doyle says that "we not only need to raise the visibility of this connection, but also we need to work to change our environments – where we live, learn, work, shop, and play – to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”