The Association for International Cancer Research (AICR) has warned that merely increasing awareness of the disease appears unlikely to persuade some to improve their lifestyles.
AICR scientific co-ordinator Dr Mark Matfield observed that while smoking and exposure to the sun are long established in the public mind as cancer-causing factors, a number of other potential triggers are less well-known.
"There is generally rather poor awareness of most of the other cancer risk factors such as obesity, excessive alcohol intake and poor diet," he observed.
Dr Matfield added that while initiatives aimed at educating the general public are likely to meet with some success, the fact so many people continue to smoke in spite of knowing the risks suggests alternative strategies need to be devised.
This week, data compiled by Macmillan Cancer Research found the number of Britons living with the condition has risen by 35 per cent over the last decade.