The European Code Against Cancer, 4th edition

The European Code Against Cancer focuses on actions that individual citizens can take for themselves or their families to reduce their risk of developing cancer. For successful cancer prevention, these individual actions need to be supported by government policies and actions.

It is estimated that almost half of all deaths due to cancer in Europe could be avoided if everyone followed the 12 recommendations of the 4th edition of the European Code Against Cancer.

Use the self-paced modules available for each of the 12 recommendations! An additional module explains the methodology followed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to develop the 4th edition of the European Code Against Cancer. To access the modules, please register/login to the learning platform.
1_Tobacco
2_Secondhand_smoke
3_Obesity
4_Physical_activity
5_Diet
6_Alcohol
7_UVexposure
8_Pollutants
9_Radiation
10_Breastfeeding_HPV
11_Vaccination
12_Screening

Translations into other languages coming soon.

Modules

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Methodology

Find out the methods used in the creation of the European Code Against Cancer.
— Dr Carolina Espina, IARC

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1. Tobacco

Do not smoke. Do not use any form of tobacco.
— Dr Maria Leon, IARC

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2. Second-hand smoke

Make your home smoke-free. Support smoke-free policies in your workplace.
— Dr Maria Leon, IARC

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3. Body weight

Take action to be a healthy body weight.
— Dr Martin Wiseman, WCRF

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4. Physical activity

Be physically active in everyday life. Limit the time you spend sitting.
— Dr Martin Wiseman, WCRF

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5. Diet

Have a healthy diet. Eat plenty of whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits. Limit high-calorie foods (high in sugar or fat) and avoid sugary drinks. Avoid processed meat, limit red meat and foods high in salt.
— Dr Isabelle Romieu, IARC

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6. Alcohol

If you drink alcohol of any type, limit your intake. Not drinking alcohol is better for cancer prevention.
— Dr Isabelle Romieu, IARC



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7. Sun/UV Exposure

Avoid too much sun, especially for children. Use sun protection. Do not use sunbeds.
— Dr Joachim Schüz, IARC




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8. Pollutants

In the workplace, protect yourself against cancer-causing substances by following health and safety instructions.
— Dr Carolina Espina, IARC



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9. Radiation

Find out if you are exposed to radiation from naturally high radon levels in your home. Take action to reduce high radon levels.
— Dr Joachim Schüz, IARC



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10. Breastfeeding and HRT

For women, breastfeeding reduces the mother's cancer risk, if you can breastfeed your baby. For women, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) increases the risk of certain cancers, limit use of HRT.
— Dr Isabelle Romieu, IARC, and Dr Karen Brown, University of Leicester (UK)

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11. Vaccination and infections

Ensure your children take part in vaccination programmes for: Hepatitis B (for newborns), Human Papillomavirus (HPV) (for girls).
— Dr Rolando Herrero, IARC




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12. Screening

Take part in organized screening programmes for: Bowel cancer for men and women, breast cancer and cervical cancer for women.
— Dr Paola Armaroli, CPO Piemonte (Italy)



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Related resources

Latest evidence, myths, and controversies

This second set of modules presents some of the latest evidence that has emerged since the 4th edition of the European Code Against Cancer was published in 2014, and tackles some myths and controversies related to the topics addressed by the 12 recommendations of the European Code Against Cancer, 4th edition.

 

Use the self-paced modules to learn about further evidence beyond the European Code Against Cancer, 4th edition, and to find out how to differentiate between myths and reality.

Modules coming soon

Acknowledgements

These modules were created thanks to the Cancer Prevention Europe (CPE) partners (cancerpreventioneurope.iarc.fr/consortium), in particular the World Cancer Research Fund International (wcrf.org), and developed by experts from all the CPE partner institutions and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The translations of these modules were provided by:

  • The French National Cancer Institute (INCa), which specializes in comprehensive cancer control and research (e-cancer.fr), and the Centre Léon Bérard (centreleonberard.fr), which is dedicated to comprehensive cancer care, prevention, and research.
  • The Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer (AECC) (aecc.es), which leads the efforts of Spanish society to reduce the impact of cancer and to improve people’s lives.
  • The Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) (europeancancerleagues.org), which provides an exclusive platform for members to collaborate with their international peers, primarily in the areas of cancer prevention, tobacco control, access to medicines, and patient support. The ECL, with the support of grant agreement 101015525 from the Third European Union Health Programme 2014–2020, co-financed the translation into Hungarian with the Hungarian League Against Cancer (rakliga.hu) and the translation into Polish with the Maria Skłodowska-Curie – National Research Institute of Oncology (pib-nio.pl).
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