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What can you actually do to help prevent cancer, as 12% believe coffee is carcinogenic?

One in eight people incorrectly think coffee causes cancer, a new poll suggests.

Yolanthe Fawehinmi
Thursday 17 August 2023 09:55 BST
Is coffee safe? (Alamy/PA)
Is coffee safe? (Alamy/PA)

A new poll has found that 12% of people still believe that drinking coffee is carcinogenic.

The new poll – conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), which surveyed 2,092 adults via YouGov – looked into the different ways people live, and whether it impacts their risk of cancer.

The research found that 86% of people believed smoking increased the risk of cancer, while 60% said that being overweight could do the same.

47% thought being physically inactive can be detrimental, and 59% believed a poor diet can up the odds.

Almost 59% said alcohol can increase a person’s risk and 55% said processed meat could be a risk factor.

WCRF launched its poll to highlight its free eight-week interactive programme Activ8, to provide people with tips on making healthier food and drink choices, and finding different ways to be more active.

Cancer Research UK wrote on their website that “not all cancers can be prevented, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk”.

A person’s risk of cancer depends on many different things, for example, someone’s genes or age. But according to the charity, four in 10 UK cancer cases could be prevented.

“The world around us doesn’t always make it easy to be healthy – but small changes to your daily routine can add up.“

The WCRF agreed and has said that around 40% of cancer cases could be prevented through factors including eating a healthy diet, keeping physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and being safe in the sun.

Dr Helen Croker, assistant director of research and policy at the WCRF, said: “These poll results show that many people aren’t aware of some of the steps they can take to help protect themselves from cancer.

“For example, it’s interesting to see that 12% of Brits believe drinking coffee increases cancer risk, when in fact we have strong evidence that it reduces the risk of liver and womb cancers, and some evidence that drinking coffee could decrease the risk of other cancers, including mouth and skin.

“For cancer prevention, there’s no reason for most people not to drink coffee, but for those who do, we recommend not adding sugar or other sweeteners, and drinking it in moderation.”

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