People in Wales least aware poor diet can cause cancer

People in Wales are the least aware in Britain that having a poor diet increases the risk of cancer, according to a survey by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

The charity said after not smoking, eating a healthy diet and being physically active are the most important ways to reduce the risk of getting cancer.

55%-of people in Wales are aware of the link between a poor diet and cancer.

Dr Lee Parry, from the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, said eating less processed foods and more fruit and vegetables, especially dark fruits and berries, can help prevent many types of cancer and even kill some cancer cells.

berries

In the UK alone we have about 40,000 new cases of bowel cancer every year and about 20,000 deaths. We estimate that about half of those could’ve been prevented if people just adopted a healthier lifestyle. That’s a dramatic reduction in figures… The way diet can work is to actually be toxic to those cancer cells whereas not to your normal healthy cells. There’s an impact for diet beyond just preventing, we can use it to help people with cancer as well.

– DR LEE PARRY, CARDIFF UNIVERSITY

Dr Lee Parry

There are a number of different reasons people can develop cancer and some are impossible to prevent.

Patrick Wymer, from Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, has always tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Despite this, in 2017, he started getting stomach pains and losing weight. Overtime the pain got worse and he was forced to have an emergency operation. He was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer and given a stoma.

Patrick Wymer

My stoma, in the first couple of weeks, caused me more distress than having cancer… I had no warning I was going to have it. I just woke up from the operation with it. And I just thought well how on earth am I going to be able to live with this?

– PATRICK WYMER

Since then, Patrick has become even more conscious about the food he eats. He wants to make more people aware of the impact diet can have.

I like going out for a drink and eating a bacon sandwich as much as anybody but I tried not to make that the way I lived everyday.

When you first have a stoma you’re encouraged to eat fairly bland food to start with and then introduce more adventurous foods gradually…

Diet plays a huge part, particularly with bowel cancer. I think it’s essential that we keep shouting about it.

– PATRICK WYMER

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