Questions and answers
16 November 2021
What cancer types can be prevented by reducing exposure to modifiable risk factors?
How far have we progressed in preventing cancer through actions on modifiable risk factors?
Is reducing exposures to known carcinogens enough to effectively and sustainably prevent cancer?
Deputy Head, Evidence Synthesis and Classification Branch
Dr Béatrice Lauby-Secretan
International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
CANCER MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR CANCER PREVENTION
Professor David HunterRichard Doll Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine and Director of the Translational Epidemiology Unit
University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
The World Health Organization estimates that 30–50% of all cancer cases are preventable. There is strong scientific evidence about the role of a number of modifiable risk factors and protective factors in the incidence of and mortality from some of the most common cancer types around the world, such as lung cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. What is the current status of that evidence, and how far have we progressed?
CANCER PREVENTION PERSPECTIVES BEYOND REDUCED CARCINOGEN EXPOSURE
Professor Bernard W. StewartProfessor | Co-Editor of the 2020 World Cancer Report
University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Decreased risk of lung cancer after smoking cessation epitomizes primary cancer prevention. Comparable responses to alcohol consumption, exposure to ultraviolet radiation, and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection remain crucial. Reduced cancer incidence may also be targeted for risk factors not involving recognized carcinogens. More broadly, health impacts due to inequalities offer the prospect of reducing a spectrum of diseases. However, even the immediate goal of avoiding exposure to carcinogens may fail because of beliefs and expectations.
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Developed with the support of and in collaboration with the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO).