In this section you will learn:
• More than half of cancer deaths in the United States are a result of
• Obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus significantly increase the incidence
and worsen outcomes of some forms of cancer.
• Sufficient levels of physical activity reduce the incidence of certain cancers
and improve their outcomes.
• Tobacco use is responsible for almost 30 percent of cancer deaths in
the United States.
• Disparities in colorectal cancer incidence and mortality can be reduced by
making colonoscopy available to all who are eligible.
• Identifying individuals at highest risk for developing certain cancers can make
screening more effective.
Prevention and Early Detection
Many of the greatest reductions in the morbidity and mortality of cancer have come from advances in
cancer prevention and early detection. These remarkable effects were achieved by translating advances
in our understanding of the causes and progressive nature of cancer into effective new clinical practices,
and public education and policy initiatives.
Changes in the clinic include improved screening practices (e.g., colonoscopy to detect and remove
precancerous adenomatous polyps) and the introduction of targeted interventions (e.g., administering
vaccines to prevent infection with pathogens associated with cancer risk, such as hepatitis B virus or
human papilloma viruses). Likewise, public education regarding common factors that increase cancer
risk (such as physical inactivity and unhealthy diets) have also played a role, as has the implementation
of policies aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles and minimizing exposure to cancer-causing agents
(such as tobacco smoke and asbestos).
Healthy Living Can Prevent Cancer
Decades of research have led to the identification of numerous factors that affect a person’s risk of
developing cancer (see Figure 9, p. 19). Through this work, scientists have come to the conclusion that
more than 50 percent of the 580,350 cancer deaths expected to occur in the United States in 2013 will
using tobacco. Quitting
even after a cancer
diagnosis can reduce
with cancer treatment and
improve overall survival.
The AACR recommends that
healthcare providers assess
tobacco use by cancer
patients in all clinical
settings and provide users
with cessation treatment.
The AACR also encourages
researchers to study how
tobacco use by clinical
trial participants changes
treatment outcomes in
trials. Read more at: