The Cure for Cancer: Prevention?


Earlier today, researchers from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the U.K.-based World Cancer Research Fund released their report:

Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention

Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity:
A Global Perspective

A few days ago, I talked about the strong link between obesity and cancer that the AICR/WCRF has identified.

With this new report, the AICR/WCRF builds upon that research and makes a strong argument for diet and exercise as the key to fighting cancer.

It calls research and spending on the treatment of cancer “necessary but not sufficient,” and contends that a far better strategy for reducing the world’s annual tally of 11 million cancer cases would be to develop a public-health policy aimed at preventing people from getting the disease in the first place.

Their findings are based on an a review of the nearly 7,000 scientific studies into whether cancer rates are influenced by diet, obesity and exercise.

In their report, they conclude that cancer “is mostly preventable.”

They estimate that about one-third of all cases in advanced countries like the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe could be eliminated by diets that aren’t loaded with fatty, sugary foods, by people exercising regularly and, if they are obese, by slimming down to an appropriate weight.

And considering that another 1/3 of all cancer cases are due to smoking, the folks over at the AICR/WCRF believe that 2/3 of all cancers are preventable.

But What about Genetics?

For years and years, scientists have looked towards the genome for answers to the mystery of cancer. And since we began mapping out the human genome, that research has intensified.

This report attempts to throw cold water on the genetic hypothesis for cancer.

One of the study’s lead researchers,Dr. Kumanyika said studies tracking immigrants and their children who move from areas of low cancer incidence, such as Asia, to countries with high rates, such as the United States, suggest the genetic factor may be overrated.

Over time, cancer rates among migrants and their children rise toward the levels prevalent in their adopted countries, suggesting that something common to everyone in the new environment is the cause.

So, what do we do now?

According to AICR/WCRF, the short answer to that question is cooperation.

They envision an approach which combines the efforts of 9 separate “actors”. Their hope/belief is that the combined and coordinated efforts of those 9 actors will create a synergistic weapon in the fight against preventable cancers.


And what are role are we, the people, expected to play in this noble fight against cancer?


So, what do you think?

Still not convinced?

Maybe Dr. Marmot can convince you.

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  1. Thanks, these are very valuable points being made regarding cancer prevention. Hopefully Obama’s future health reforms will emphasize prevention and help in spreading the word through better health education.

  2. No worries, mate! President Obama said in his address to Congress yesterday he would find a cure for cancer.

    He didn’t say which one of the 400+ cancers, so I assume it’s all of them.


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