Ben Cross’ lifestyle choices may have caused him cancer – how to reduce risk

“I am completely heartbroken to share with you that my dear father has passed away,” Lauren Cross wrote on social media. “He was ill for a while, but over the past week his condition has deteriorated dramatically.” Ben died of cancer, a disease that is diagnosed in one in two people in the UK in their lifetime. Cancer Research UK has stated that up to 40 percent of cancers are preventable and 60 percent are not.

The most preventable types of cancer include:

  • Lungs’ cancer
  • bowel cancer
  • melanoma skin cancer
  • Mammary cancer.

The charity states that “smoking is the leading cause of cancer in the UK”; the second largest risk factor is being overweight.

Although Ben was a slender man, he admitted to smoking while he was alive.

He was remembered by fans as Harold Abrahams in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, and he feared that after his success he would be cast in a character role.

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The Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire tells the story of a Jewish athlete who is determined to win gold in the 1924 Paris Olympics and fight anti-Semitism.

“I am a smoker and until people stop identifying me with Chariots Of Fire, I will continue to smoke,” he once said.

Born as Harry Bernard Cross on December 16, 1947, Ben was born into a working-class family that wasn’t in the spotlight.

Dropping out of school at 15, Ben worked as a window cleaner and butcher’s assistant before taking a job in theater, according to the New York Times.

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Watching from the sidelines, he decided to audition at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and was accepted.

Ben’s best known works include Star Trek (2009), The First Knight (1995) and When Nietzsche Wept (2007).

He had two divorces, with Penny Butler and Michele Mörth, and was married to Deyana Boneva when he died in a hospital in Vienna at the age of 72.

How to lower your risk of cancer

The UK Cancer Study says the two most beneficial ways to reduce cancer risk are not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.

READ MORE: ‘I felt like I was dying’: Paul O’Grady describes the terrible disease that ‘finished’ him

An additional way to minimize the risk of cancer is to eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables.

The charity also advises drinking without alcohol, which is carcinogenic, meaning it damages DNA cells.

Frequent exercise is also key to reducing cancer risk, as well as safe sun exposure through the daily use of sunscreen.

The most common types of cancer in the UK include:

  • Mammary cancer
  • Lungs’ cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Bowel cancer.

The NHS says: “There are over 200 different types of cancer, and each one is diagnosed and treated in a different way.”

Cancer symptoms may include:

  • A bump that suddenly appears on your body
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Changes in your bowel habits.

Watch Ben Cross in Chariots of Fire on Sunday 26 February on BBC Two at 5pm.

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