"We took data from national surveys showing how common each risk factor is in the population, and data from the United Kingdom cancer registries showing how many cases of each cancer type there are".
Obesity was found to be the second biggest contributor in preventable cancer cases, with around 22,800 diagnoses a year due to the patient being overweight or obese.
It said more action was needed to tackle the "health threat" of obesity. It measures whether you're a healthy weight for your height.
In addition, overexposure to UV radiation from the sun and sunbeds causes around 13,600 cases of melanoma skin cancer a year, while drinking alcohol, eating too little fibre caused around 11,900 and 11,700 cases respectively.
The research team also found that cancer rates in the United Kingdom have increased 7% over the last ten years.
However, this was altered to "obesity is a cause of cancer" for the campaign proper this year.
The research team says the new United Kingdom cancer rates have increased by 7% over the past decade which could be increased by about 2% every year.
Prof Mel Greaves, a cancer biologist at the Institute of Cancer Research, in London, said the study was an "endorsement" of the idea that many cancers were potentially preventable.
Cancer Research UK has also called for junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed to be banned.
"Given the now high rates of obesity in young people, this represents (like cigarette smoking) a major societal challenge beyond the bounds of the medical arena".
"These figures show that we each can take positive steps to help reduce our individual risk of the disease", said Harpal Kumar, chief executive at the Cancer Research UK.
Poor lifestyle choices like abusing alcohol, overeating, smoking, and excess tanning boost cancer rates in the United Kingdom.