We all know that the relationship between lifestyle and cancer is important yet also sometimes confusing. Every week there are publications of scientific studies proposing a particular relationship with some type of cancer, although often contradicting a previous report. Working through this complex and confusing literature is often difficult for experts who are working on these topics, and is almost impossible for everyone else. Yet over time, a scientific consensus does tend to emerge. We now know the terrible burden for many cancers related to smoking, and how this can be exacerbated by alcohol consumption. The beneficial effects of keeping an appropriate weight and taking regular physical exercise are also becoming more apparent, with consistent evidence from multiple studies. Most of these findings come from studies of large populations, such as the EPIC study, and have resulted in practical guidelines that individuals can incorporate into their everyday life, such as the European code against cancer.
This new ‘EPICentre’ blog will endeavour to highlight new findings on lifestyle and cancer as they are reported, and discuss their implications in plain English. We will hope to put them in a broader context, and where appropriate we may give another point of view to the original investigators. The posts will come from scientists within the EPIC network of cohort studies, although we will sometimes invite additional comments from others. We hope that this blog will become an important and informative addition to the media on how lifestyle influences cancer onset and outcome.