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Cancer industry

Cancer set to skyrocket 50 percent, says WHO, but most can be prevented through lifestyle choices

Friday, September 08, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: cancer industry, cancer prevention, cancer rates


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(NewsTarget) -- The World Cancer Report -- a comprehensive global examination of the disease -- predicts that cancer rates worldwide could increase by 50 percent by the year 2020, but that taking action on smoking and diet could prevent and cure the majority of cancers.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) -- a part of the World Health Organization -- found that aging populations and poor lifestyle choices will likely increase global cancer rates to 15 million by 2020. However, the report also found that making healthy dietary choices, exercising more often and avoiding smoking could effectively stem the increase and prevent a third of cancer cases.

"The World Cancer Report tells us that cancer rates are set to increase at an alarming rate globally," says IARC director Dr. Paul Kleihues, who also co-authored the report. "We can make a difference by taking action today. We have the opportunity to stem this increase. This report calls on governments, health practitioners and the general public to take urgent action. Action now can prevent one third of cancers, cure another third, and provide good, palliative care to the remaining third who need it."

The report stresses the need for all countries -- including developing countries, which are experiencing the same cancer rates as developed countries -- to engage in efforts to stem tobacco use, improve the diets of citizens and encourage increased exercise.

"From a global perspective, there is strong justification for focusing cancer prevention activities particularly on two main cancer-causing factors -- tobacco and diet," says Dr. Rafael Bengoa, Director of Non-communicable disease at WHO. "These factors were responsible for 43 percent of all cancer deaths in 2000, that is 2.7 million fatalities, and 40 percent of all new cases, that is four million new cancer cases."

"Unfortunately, the for-profit cancer industry is not interested in prevention," counters Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate. "Non-profit cancer groups are on the record refusing to back legislative efforts that would clearly reduce cancer rates by eliminating toxic chemicals from food and the environment," he said. "But cancer is simply too profitable for these powerful corporations and non-profits. Preventing cancer means losing revenue for them, so they pretend to be helping society by 'treating' it with patented synthetic chemicals that shrink tumors without actually treating the underlying causes of cancer."

The WHO is currently focused on developing a Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health -- a project in the works since 2002 -- meant to step the global burden of obesity-related diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.

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