The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) recently released an updated expert policy report estimating that 340,000 cancer cases in the United States could be prevented each year through “eating a varied and healthy diet, undertaking regular physical activity, being at a healthy weight and limiting alcohol intake.” According to a February 3, 2011, joint press release, positive changes in these lifestyle factors could achieve “significant reductions in particularly common cancers…, including breast (38 percent of cases), stomach (47 percent of cases) and colon (45 percent of cases).”

Reflecting the most recent global incidence data from GLOBOSCAN 2008, these revised estimates evidently square with the World Health Organization’s 2010 Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, which concluded that “regular physical activity can prevent many diseases such as breast and colon cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.” In addition, AICR and WCRF have noted that “other choices we make personally or collectively can reduce the risk of cancer including not using tobacco, avoiding excessive sun exposure, and protecting against cancer-causing infections.” The two groups have thus urged Americans to sign the World Cancer Declaration to help reduce global tobacco consumption, obesity and alcohol intake by 2020, and to motivate global leaders “to set realistic and achievable directives” for cancer prevention at the September 2011 U.N. Summit for Non-Communicable Diseases.