WASHINGTON, DC \u2013 Fewer than half of Americans recognize that drinking alcohol, diets high in red meat, diets low in vegetables, fruits and fiber and insufficient physical activity all have a clear link to cancer development, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research\u2019s (AICR) ninth Cancer Risk Awareness Survey. Awareness of other established cancer risk factors like obesity and processed meat is still alarmingly low, but has risen above 50% for the first time since AICR began the survey in 2001.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere is an enormous opportunity to prevent future cancer cases,\u201d says Dr. Nigel Brockton, Vice President of Research at AICR. \u201cMany people believe that pesticides or air pollution are the major factors in cancer risk, but modifiable lifestyle factors play a bigger role. Diet, activity, body weight and alcohol are the largest drivers of cancer risk and are under our control.\u201d\r\n\r\nOverweight and Obesity is a Growing Public Health Crisis\r\n\r\nThe AICR survey finds that only 53% of Americans are aware that having overweight and obesity increases their cancer risk. The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that over 70% of Americans have overweight or obesity. Overweight and obesity increase the risk of 12 types of cancer; six of these cancers have seen a rapid rise in diagnoses and are increasing with each successive younger age group. Aside from not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important way to protect against cancer.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe lack of awareness about obesity\u2019s link to cancer is extremely concerning, especially because we are seeing an alarming increase in obesity-related cancers in younger adults,\u201d says Dr. Brockton. \u201cWe have to increase awareness around this growing public health crisis.\u201d\r\n\r\nAwareness is also low for other common and important cancer risk factors. Alcohol increases the risk of six types of cancer: mouth, pharynx, and larynx, esophageal, breast, liver, stomach and colorectal. Less than half of Americans, however, know that drinking alcohol is a cancer risk factor.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe first step towards solving a problem is recognizing that it exists; that is why awareness of cancer risk factors is so important,\u201d says Dr. Brockton. \u201cAs much as we think we might have heard all of this before, clearly the messages have not been getting through.\u201d\r\n\r\nNew Interactive Tool to Reduce Cancer Risk\r\n\r\nThe 2019 Cancer Risk Awareness Survey offers important insights and AICR is urging Americans to check in with their health this Cancer Prevention Month using AICR\u2019s new online tool, Cancer Health Check. The tool combines AICR\u2019s latest research and 10 Cancer Prevention Recommendations so that people can assess their lifestyle choices and learn how to live healthier lives.\r\n\r\nCancer Health Check prompts people to answer simple questions about their lifestyle habits and gives instant feedback about how well they meet the evidence-based recommendations or how they might make changes to follow the recommendations more closely.\r\n\r\n\u201cCancer prevention is more important than ever. One in four people will develop cancer in their life and we know that about 40% of cancers are preventable,\u201d says Sheena Patel Swanner, Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. \u201cEating a plant-based diet, staying at a healthy weight and being active can reduce your chances of developing cancer. We really want to communicate the importance of a healthy lifestyle during Cancer Prevention Month.\u201d\r\n\r\nTo view the full results of the 2019 Cancer Risk Awareness Survey, click here. To take the Cancer Health Check, visit cancerhealthcheck.org.\r\n\r\nData for the 2019 Cancer Risk Awareness Survey was collected in September 2019. The SSRS Omnibus sample is designed to represent the adult U.S. population (including Hawaii and Alaska). The survey included 1,009 respondents aged 18 and older who were telephoned at random. Margin of error: +\/-3%. The survey was conducted in English and Spanish.\r\n\r\nAbout the American Institute for Cancer Research\r\n\r\nOur vision: We want to live in a world where no one develops a preventable cancer.\r\n\r\nOur mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.\r\n\r\nWe have contributed over $109 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospital and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR\u2019s Cancer Prevention Recommendations, at aicr.org.