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The Policy Report

The Next Step: Policy and Preventability

Making it Easier to Make Healthy Choices

AICR asked the expert panel behind the 2007 Expert Report – and its 10 Recommendations for Cancer Prevention – to lend their in-depth understanding of the science of cancer prevention to the development of 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.

Evidence for the policy report came partly from two systematic literature reviews that investigated two specific questions:

  1. What factors shape the patterns of behavior that affect cancer risk (namely diet, physical activity and body fatness)? and
  2. Around the world, what effects have specific interventions had on those patterns of behavior?

How Much – and What Kind – of Cancers are Preventable?

The policy report also sought to determine how much cancer could be prevented through diet, physical activity and weight management.

These estimates were based on the 2007 expert report’s findings about how different patterns of diet, physical activity and weight affect risk of cancer.

Their estimates of the percentage of preventable cancers are listed below.

Percentage Of Cancers That Could Be Prevented
Via Healthy Diet, Regular Physical Activity And Healthy Weight

Cancer Site

US

UK

Brazil

China

Endometrium
(lining of the uterus)

70

56

52

34

Esophagus

69

75

60

44

Mouth, pharynx & larynx

63

67

63

44

Stomach

47

45

41

33

Colon

45

43

37

17

Pancreas

39

41

34

14

Breast

38

42

28

20

Lung

36

33

36

38

Kidney

24

19

13

8

Gallbladder

21

16

10

6

Liver

15

17

6

6

Prostate

11

20

n/a

n/a

These 12
cancers combined

34

39

30

27

 

The Policy Report

Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention

In February 2009, AICR and WCRF released the report  Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention, which includes the above preventability figures and the panel’s 48 policy recommendations for government, schools, industry, health professionals and others.

Published on June 28, 2011

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