Policy and Preventability
AICR asked the experts behind the 2007 expert report – and its 10 Recommendations for Cancer Prevention – to develop a report on cancer prevention policy. They were joined in that task by leading policy experts specializing in the fields of physical activity, economics, and the psychology of health behaviors.
|Cancer Type||New Cases||Percentage Prevented||*Number of Cases Prevented|
|Mouth, Pharyngeal & Laryngeal||38,960||63%||24,545|
*Estimated, based on: AICR/WRCF, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention 2009; Continuous Update Project reports; Rebecca Siegel et al. “Cancer statistics, 2014.” CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians Volume 64, January/February 2014.
How Many Cancers Are Preventable?
For the 12 most common cancers in the United States, about one third of the cases are preventable through a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight. This translates to about 374,000 preventable cases of cancer per year.Preventability estimates are calculated using information on:
- Cancer risk associated with lifestyle factor
- Prevalence of low, moderate and high levels/consumption of lifestyle factor in each country
- Incidence of different cancers in each country
You can read the full methodology used to calculate the estimates in Appendix A of the Policy Report.
Briefly: Estimates were made for lifestyle factors judged to be convincing or probable modifiers of cancer risk in Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective and its continuous updates.
Highest versus lowest risk estimates were used for cancer risk. One research study (ideally large and recent) was chosen from those collected as part of the 2007 report and its continuous updates, where the size of effect was representative of all studies. Information on prevalence of lifestyle factors was obtained from national surveys. These two pieces of information were used to estimate preventability for each lifestyle factor.Limitations
Evidence for the policy report came partly from two systematic literature reviews that investigated two specific questions:
What factors shape the patterns of behavior that affect cancer risk (namely diet, physical activity and body fatness)? And, around the world, what effects have specific interventions had on those patterns of behavior?
The preventability figures are estimates; they are not precise values. They are likely underestimates, as only those cancers judged to have convincing or probable links to lifestyle factors are included.
For the 2009 Policy Report, these estimates were based on GLOBOCAN 2002 data. Those original estimates have been updated with the most recent global incidence data from GLOBOCAN* on cancer rates.
* Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, Forman D, Mathers C and Parkin DM. GLOBOCAN 2008, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2010. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr]
Sir Michael Marmot on the Policy Report
Published on February 3, 2014