Maintaining a healthy lifestyle could prevent the development of nearly a quarter of bowel cancer cases.
According to Danish research published on the British Medical Journal website today, five lifestyle areas can be modified to decrease the risk.
The researchers aimed to find what outcome following a healthy lifestyle would have on bowl cancer numbers and how many people could be saved by adhering to advice.
Being physically active for at least half an hour a day, eating healthily, not smoking, drinking moderately and having a waist circumference below 88 cm for women and 102 cm for men all pointed to a lower risk.
The researchers said: “Our study reveals the useful public health message that even modest differences in lifestyle might have a substantial impact on colorectal cancer risk and emphasises the importance of continuing vigorous efforts to convince people to follow the lifestyle recommendations.”
Bowel cancer is diagnosed in more than 38,000 people every year.
It is the third most common cancer but the second biggest cause of cause of cancer deaths, claiming the lives of more than 16,000 people in the UK every year.