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Landmark Report: Many Cancers Could be Prevented

LONDON, February 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 40 per cent of colon and breast cancer cases in some countries are preventable through healthy patterns of diet, physical activity and weight maintenance, according to estimates in a report that has set out recommendations for policies and actions to prevent cancer.

The report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention, published today by World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), has estimated about 43 per cent of colon 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. 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 colon 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 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 part of the evidence-based report, a panel of 23 world-renowned experts made 48 recommendations spread across different groups in society to follow. These include:

    - 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.
    - Governments should require widespread walking and cycling routes to
      encourage physical activity.
    - The food and drinks industry should make public health an explicit
      priority at all stages of production.

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

"This report is relevant to everyone from heads of government to the people who do the weekly food shopping for their family and the overall message is that everyone needs to make public health in general, and cancer prevention in particular, more of a priority."

For media information visit to download the report.

SOURCE World Cancer Research Fund
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