Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world and its incidence continues to rise. Each year 12.7 million people discover they have cancer and 7.6 million people die from the disease. However, evidence shows that 30 - 40 percent of these deaths can be prevented, and one-third can be cured through early diagnosis and treatment.
Prevention estimates announced today, World Cancer Day, by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) show that by eating a varied and healthy diet, undertaking regular physical activity, being at a healthy weight and limiting alcohol intake, as many as 340,000 cases of cancer in United States could be prevented each year.
These findings are further supported by the World Health Organization's (WHO) new Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. This landmark report reinforces the AICR/WCRF conclusion that regular physical activity can prevent many diseases such as breast and colon cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. The report provides concrete recommendations for levels of physical activity needed for health at three ages (5-17 years, 18-64 years, and over age 65); these recommendations are especially helpful for low- and middle-income countries, where few national guidelines for physical inactivity exist.
"Physical activity is recommended for people of all ages as a means to reduce risks for certain types of cancers and other non-communicable diseases," says Dr. Tim Armstrong, from WHO's Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion. "In order to improve their health and prevent several diseases, adults should do at least 150 minutes moderate physical activity throughout the week. This can be achieved by simply walking 30 minutes five times per week or by cycling to work daily".
To help fight the global cancer epidemic, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) is urging individuals to take action and sign the World Cancer Declaration at www.worldcancerday.org/signdeclaration as a first step to help reduce cancer cases.
Signing the Declaration will help UICC in its effort to motivate global leaders to set realistic and achievable directives for preventing cancer during the United Nations Summit for Non-Communicable Diseases. The announcement of this summit, to be held in September, 2011, is an unprecedented step in the battle against cancer.
"Support World Cancer Day by signing the World Cancer Declaration and help us achieve the goal of one million supporters for a Cancer Free World, said Dr. Eduardo Cazap, President of UICC. " With individuals, governments and policy makers of the world working together, we have the ability to ease the global burden of cancer now and for future generations."