The world population is ageing and increasing in size. As a result, the numbers of people diagnosed with and dying of cancer are increasing. Cancer is also a growing problem in developing countries. Government, be it local, state, provincial, national, or even a union of nations, has clear roles in the control of cancer. It is widely appreciated that much of the research that has defined the causes and treatment of cancer was, and is, government funded. Less appreciated, the body of work about how to control cancer shows the importance of an environment that encourages individuals to adopt healthy behaviours, and government has a vitally important role. Through regulation, education, and support programmes, governments can create an environment in which tobacco use is reduced and citizens maintain good levels of physical activity, healthy bodyweight, and good nutrition. Cancer prevention and the creation of a culture of health is an essential mission of government, beyond that of the traditional health-focused departments such as health ministries; it is in the domain of governmental agencies involved in environmental protection, occupational safety, and transportation. Cancer prevention and health promotion are also in the realm of the zoning board, the board of education, and the board of health.
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