Cases of the third most common cancer among men, colorectal cancer, can be significantly reduced with five simple lifestyle changes.
One of the recommendations made by Professor. Donald Maxwell Parkin of Cancer Research UK Centre for Epidemiology, Mathematics, and Statistics, London, is that people's consumption of red and processed meat should not be more than 80 or 90 grams per day.
He also suggests that people consume at least five portions of fruit, vegetables, and fibre every day.
The third recommendation is to exercise at least 30 minutes on five or more days per week.
The experts also suggest that men should not to consume more than 21 units of alcohol per week, and women should restrict their intake to 15 units.
According to them, overweight and obesity should be reduced to rates of 20 years ago.
It was based on published studies that the researchers made projections to estimate how "reasonable" lifestyle changes would affect future rates of colorectal cancer.
Following their observations, the researchers came to the conclusion that such lifestyle changes may led to a 31.5 percent reduction in cases of colorectal cancer in men, and 18.4 percent fewer cases in women.
They say that most of the prevented cases would be in older age groups, considering that colorectal cancer most commonly occurs at age 50 or older.
However, the proportional reduction in risk would be larger at younger ages, the researchers add.
Prof. Parkin says that healthy changes in diet, exercise, alcohol use, and body weight could reduce the rate of colorectal cancer in the U.K. by about one-fourth, which is even greater than the reductions likely to be achieved by a proposed national screening program, estimated at 15 percent.
The researchers conclude: "The preventive interventions described in this study would save more deaths from other causes (cancer of the breast and upper GI tract, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes) than from colorectal cancer."
The study appears in The European Journal of Cancer Prevntion.