Prevention of cancer and non-communicable diseases

The ICCC-4 Working Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for approximately 7.6 million deaths (13% of all deaths) in 2008. Cancer mortality is projected to increase to 11 million deaths in 2030, with the majority occurring in regions of the world with the least capacity to respond. However, cancer is not only a personal, societal and economic burden but also a potential societal opportunity in the context of functional life - the years gained through effective prevention and treatment, and strategies to enhance survivorship. The United Nations General Assembly Special Session in 2011 has served to focus attention on key aspects of cancer prevention and control. Firstly, cancer is largely preventable, by feasible means. Secondly, cancer is one of a number of chronic, noncommunicable diseases that share common risk factors whose prevention and control would benefit a majority of the world's population. Thirdly, a proportion of cancers can be attributed to infectious, communicable causal factors (e.g., HPV, HBV, H.pylori, parasites, flukes) and that strategies to control the burden of infectious diseases have relevance to the control of cancer. Fourthly, that the natural history of non-communicable diseases, including cancer, from primary prevention through diagnosis, treatment and care, is underwritten by the impact of social, economic and environmental determinants of health (e.g., poverty, illiteracy, gender inequality, social isolation, stigma, socio-economic status). Session 1 of the 4th International Cancer Control Congress (ICCC-4) focused on the social, economic and environmental, as well as biological and behavioural, modifiers of the risk of cancer through one plenary presentation and four interactive workshop discussions. The workshop sessions concerned 1) the Global Adult Tobacco Survey and social determinants of tobacco use in high burden low- and middle-income countries; 2) the role of diet, including alcohol, and physical activity in modifying the risk of cancer and other non-communicable diseases; 3) the role of infections in modifying the risk of cancer; and 4) the public policies and actions that can be implemented to effectively reduce the risk of cancer at population levels. Workshop discussions highlighted the need for high quality data on the prevalence of modifiable factors in different settings, as well as the social, economic and environmental drivers of these factors, in order to inform prevention and control programs. For some factors, further work needs to be done to develop simple and valid measurement tools. Given that many of these factors are common to both cancer and other non-communicable diseases, cancer prevention should be viewed within the broader perspective of the prevention of non-communicable diseases and should engage all relevant actors, including the general public, health and other professionals, workplaces and institutions, the media, civil society, schools, governments, industry, and multinational bodies. Many policies and plans have been implemented in various settings to control the drivers of modifiable factors and promote health and well-being. Mapping, analysis, and contextualization of those policies that are relevant would be helpful to promote action around cancer prevention in different settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalAsian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012


  • Alcohol and the risk of cancer
  • Nutrition
  • Prevention and control of cancer
  • UNGASS 2011 Special Resolution
  • World Cancer Research Fund Diet and Cancer Report
  • World Cancer Research Fund Policy Report
  • World Tobacco Control Framework
  • food
  • infections and the risk of cancer
  • prevention and control of non-communicable diseases
  • rational policies and actions to prevent cancer
  • social, economic and environmental modifiers of cancer risk
  • tobacco and the risk of cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cancer Research


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