Lifestyle Changes and Screening Could Drastically Reduce World Cancer

More than half of all cancers could be prevented, a researcher told the International Cancer Control (UICC) World Cancer Congress 2012 , if only people actually followed the lifestyle recommendations and screening or other interventions that we already know prevent cancer.

The challenge, world experts say, is to get people doing what we know works.

Speaking at the World Congress in Montreal in early September, Graham Colditz, PD, DrPH from the Washington University School of Medicine, noted that one third of cancer in high-income countries is caused by smoking, and being overweight causes another 20% of cancers. He also estimated that increased exercise could reduce cancer by as much as 85% in coming decades.

Dr. Colditz also sited studies having 20 years of follow-up showing that aspirin is associated with a 40% reduction in mortality from colon cancer; and screening also has been shown to reduce mortality by 30 to 40%.

Dr. Colditz also described a concerted cooperative effort to promote colorectal cancer screening in Massachusetts begun in 1997. Between 1997 and 2010, he told World Conference attendees, “we saw almost a doubling of screening with sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy in age-eligible residents and, during that time, the age-standardized mortality from colon cancer went down by 35%.” David Hill, PhD, MD (Hon) from the Union for International Cancer Control in Geneva, Switzerland, co-chaired the session with Dr. Colditz, and afterwards told Medscape Medical News that “We have far more knowledge at the moment than we are making use of effectively.

“The challenge for us is to develop a new form of cancer science called ‘implementation science.’ We’ve got to work out how to take the benefits of discoveries to the people for population-wide health benefits.”

Source: Sept. 5 2012 Medscape Medical News.

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