World Health Organization says that 30% of deaths from cancer could be avoided

Find out how to prevent the disease from occurring

Jéssica Botelho

Tuesday | February 02, 2016 | 6:15 PM | Last update: September 22, 2016, 4:07 PM (Brasilia time)

The increase in the number of cases of people with cancer worldwide is a worrying situation for doctors and specialists. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is one of the main causes of death, responsible for 8.2 million deaths in 2012, with some 70% of these deaths occurring in low and middle income countries.

- Obesity is a risk factor for cancer

The disease manifests itself in its most diverse forms, which correspond to the various types of cells in the body. There are different types of skin cancer, for example, because the skin is composed of more than one type of cell.

The main types of cancer are:

• Lung (1.59 million deaths)
• Stomach (723,000 deaths)
• Liver (745,000 deaths)
• Colorectal (669,000 deaths)
• Breast (521,000 deaths)
• Cervical (400,000 deaths)

The WHO also warns that tobacco use, alcohol use, bad eating habits, lack of physical activity, and high body mass index are the main risk factors for cancer. Among these, tobacco use is the main risk factor and responsible for 22% of cancer deaths worldwide and for 70% of lung cancer deaths.

More than 30% of deaths from cancer could be prevented by eliminating risk factors that include: tobacco use; obesity; unhealthy diet with low intake of fruit, vegetables, and greens; lack of physical activity; alcohol use; and urban air pollution.


In order to avoid the appearance of the disease, people need to eliminate the risk factors listed above, vaccinate against human papilloma virus (HPV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and C (HCV), control occupational hazards, and reduce exposure to sunlight.

Deaths from cancer worldwide are likely to continue growing. The number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 2 decades. To change this picture, below is a list of foods that can help prevent the disease:

Information from the World Health Organization (WHO)