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Landmark Report Finds 38% of Breast Cancer Cases in U.S. are Preventable

Landmark Report Finds 38% of Breast Cancer Cases in U.S. are PreventableA recent landmark policy report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that the risk of many cancers is reduced by about a third if people eat healthy food and exercise. Specifically, the report found that 38% of breast cancer in the U.S. can be prevented by simple lifestyle changes. While the recommendation is not new--we all know the importance of eating balanced meals, getting sufficient daily exercise and controlling our weight--this is believed to be the most comprehensive report on cancer prevention ever published.

After two independent teams of researchers studied how policy changes can influence behaviors that affect an individual's risk for cancer, a group of 21 international experts established 48 recommendations for preventing cancer, including the following global actions for consumers, government, industry and schools:

  • People should use independent nutrition guides and food labels to ensure the food they buy is healthy.
  • Schools should actively encourage physical activity and provide healthy food for children.
  • Schools, workplaces and institutions should not have unhealthy foods available in vending machines.
  • The food and drinks industry should make public health an explicit priority at all stages of production.
  • Governments should require widespread walking and cycling routes to encourage physical activity.
  • Industry should give a higher priority for goods and services that encourage people to be active, particularly young people.
  • Health professionals should take a lead for providing information about public health, including cancer prevention.

"This report shows that by making relatively straightforward changes, we could significantly reduce the number of cancer cases around the world," said Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Chair of the World Cancer Research Fund Panel. "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."


Find more details at the World Cancer Research Fund.

July 17, 2009