In a recent study association of environmental and lifestyle factors with risk of cancer was analyzed. Scientists found that smoking has the largest effect on the risk of cancer followed by poor diet (less intake of fruits and vegetables and fibre and greater intake of meat and salt), obesity, and alcohol, with alcohol being calculated to relate to 4.0% of cancer cases in the UK.
Forum reviewers considered this to be a well-done paper that used epidemiologic methods that are preferable to those used in some previous such analyses. Generally, they disagreed with the authors that no alcohol consumption was the theoretical "optimum exposure level," as the risk of certain cancers seems to increase primarily from heavy drinking. Further, they found reason to believe that the purported effects related to diet may have been over-estimated.
Nevertheless, this paper provides considerable new information on lifestyle and environmental factors that may relate to the risk of cancer. It puts into perspective the importance of targeting certain behaviours for the potential reduction in the risk of cancer.