World Cancer Research Fund launches new policy report: 'Policy and action for cancer prevention'
Over 40 per cent of bowel and breast cancer cases in the UK are preventable through healthy patterns of diet, physical activity and weight maintenance, according to estimates in a landmark report that has set out recommendations for policies and actions to reduce the global number of cancer cases.
The report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention, has estimated that about 43 per cent of bowel cancer cases and 42 per cent of breast cancer cases in the UK could be prevented in this way.
The overall message of the report is that all sections of society from governments to households should make public health, and cancer prevention in particular, a higher priority. And it includes estimates on the proportion of cancer cases that could be prevented through diet, physical activity and weight that demonstrate how important the issue is.
The estimates for the US are that 45 per cent of bowel cancer cases and 38 per cent of breast cancer cases are preventable by these means. The report has also estimated the preventability of cancer in China and Brazil, which represent low and middle-income countries, respectively.
The overall estimate is that about a third of the most common cancers in high-income countries and a quarter in lower-income countries could be prevented. These figures do not include smoking, which alone accounts for about a third of cancers.
As well as breast and colon cancers, across the world many cases of other cancers, such as those of the kidney and stomach, are preventable (see table below).
As part of the evidence-based report, thought to be the most comprehensive ever published on the subject, two independent teams of scientists systematically looked at the evidence for how policy changes and interventions influence the behaviours that affect cancer risk.
Following this, a panel of 23 world-renowned experts made 48 recommendations spread across different groups in society to follow. These groups are: multinational bodies; civil society organisations; government; industry; media; schools; workplaces and institutions; health and other professionals; and people. The recommendations include:
Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Chair of the WCRF Panel, said: “This report shows that by making relatively straightforward changes, we could significantly reduce the number of cancer cases around the world.
“When people think of policy reports, they often think they are only relevant to governments. But while governments are important in this, the evidence shows that when it comes to cancer prevention, all groups in society have a role to play. This report is relevant to everyone from heads of government to the people who do the weekly food shopping for their family.
“We have been fairly specific about what different groups need to do. But the Report’s overall message is that everyone needs to make public health in general, and cancer prevention in particular, more of a priority.”
Professor Martin Wiseman, Project Director of the Report, said: “Making estimates on the proportion of cancer cases that are preventable is complex and challenging.
“The figures in this report have been agreed by the most eminent of scientists and they are as accurate as they can be with the available data.
“On a global level every year, there are millions of cancer cases that could have been prevented and this is why we need to act now before the situation gets even worse.
“We are expecting a substantial increase in cancer rates with the ageing population, obesity rates soaring, and with people becoming less active and increasingly consuming highly processed and energy dense foods and drinks.
The good news is that this is not inevitable and we still have the chance to avert a crisis before it is too late.”
|Mouth, pharynx & larynx||63||67||63||44|
|12 cancers combined||34||39||30||27|
Full report on the WCRF site here