SHARE
COPY LINK

HEALTH

French risk ‘preventable’ cancers by smoking, drinking and eating unhealthily

The French are needlessly putting themselves at risk of developing cancer by smoking, drinking and eating unhealthily, a new study reveals.

French risk 'preventable' cancers by smoking, drinking and eating unhealthily
Photo: AFP
The study by French health authority Santé publique France said that four out of ten cancer cases could be avoided by a change in behaviour. 
 
And in France that means less smoking and drinking alcohol, which were the top two causes of “preventable” cases of cancer in France, followed by poor diet and obesity, according to figures released by the health authority on Monday. 
 
Each of these factors kill a lot more people than they should, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Santé publique France.
 
Of the 346,000 cases of cancer diagnosed in 2015 among those aged 30 and over, “142,000 (41 percent) could have been avoided if the entire population had not been exposed to the risk factors studied, or if exposure had been limited,” said the IARC. 
 
READ ALSO:

The French food you love but should really steer clear of

Photo: Alpha/Flickr

Cancer is the leading cause of death in France, ahead of cardiovascular diseases, with tumors killing 164,000 people in 2013, according to France's Ministry of Health.

Smoking-related cancers such as lung cancer, among others, mainly affect the working classes.
 
The risk of getting these cancers is 1.5 to 2 times higher among the 20 percent most disadvantaged people in France compared to the 20 percent at the other end of the spectrum, said the IARC.
 
“Too few French people are aware of the risks they are taking,” said Health Minister Agnès Buzyn, who has taken a strong stance against smoking in France, in March. 
 
Alcohol is responsible for 8 percent of new “preventable” cancer cases, with the authors of the study saying that France could do much more to prevent alcoholism and advocating “increasing prices and taxes” on alcohol. 
 
Meanwhile, poor diet and obesity are each responsible for 5.4 percent of new “preventable” cancer cases, with the IARC pointing to the risks of a “low consumption of fruits, vegetables, dietary fiber and dairy products combined with a high consumption of red meats and processed meats”. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

HEALTH

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25

Free birth control for all women under 25 will be available in France from Saturday, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women don't stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25
A doctor holds an interuterine contraceptive device (IUD) before inserting it in a patient. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP

The scheme, which could benefit three million women, covers the pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other methods composed of steroid hormones. Contraception for minors was already free in France.

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, make contraception free for teens. Britain makes several forms of contraception free to all.

France announced the extension to women under 25 in September, saying surveys showed a decline in the use of contraception mainly for financial reasons.

The move is part of a series of measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to boost women’s rights and alleviate youth poverty. The free provision is supported by women’s groups including the association En Avant Tous.

“Between 18 and 25-years-old, women are very vulnerable because they lose a lot of rights compared to when they were minors and are very precarious economically,” spokeswoman Louise Delavier told AFP.

Leslie Fonquerne, an expert in gender issues, said there was more to be done.

“This measure in no way resolves the imbalance in the contraceptive burden between women and men,” the sociologist said.

In some developed countries, the free contraception won by women after decades of campaigning is coming under attack again from the religious right.

In the United States, former president Barack Obama’s signature health reform, known as Obamacare, gave most people with health insurance free access to birth control.

But his successor Donald Trump scrapped the measure, allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage on religious grounds — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020.

Poland’s conservative government has also heavily restricted access to emergency contraception as part of its war on birth control.

SHOW COMMENTS