It’s Cancer Prevention Month, Make Each Day Count

Today is February 1st.  Do you know what month it is?  Not a trick question – this is a very important time for us all here at AICR as February is National Cancer Prevention Month.  That means 29 days to shine a spotlight on the need for Americans to embrace and make healthy lifestyle changes to protect their health and reduce their cancer risk – and we are determined to make each day count.

It’s important to us because although there are huge strides being made in cancer treatment with new drug discoveries and precision medicine, these are expensive and come with their own challenges. We have a public health crisis — the number of cancer cases due to obesity and lack of physical activity will reportedly surpass those due to tobacco in 20 years. Prevention has the potential to save costs and suffering — and we need to think broadly about it as an effective strategy.

50-infographic-bigThe chances are that if you are reading this blog, you already know about and take some steps to reduce your own cancer risk as part of your daily life.  You might already know that an estimated one-third of US cancer cases could be prevented by eating healthy along with being active and a healthy weight. Many more could be prevented by not smoking and using sun protection. Maybe you try one of our health–e recipes, count your steps or watch your portion sizes on a regular basis.  So are we simply preaching to the choir? Continue reading

Lobbyists Move to Weaken the Dietary Guidelines; Help Us Protect Them

Food industry lobbyists are exerting pressure on Congress to weaken the soon-to-be-released 2015 USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans. If they succeed, the Guidelines will put politics before sound science, and fail to provide useable guidance for Americans that could help prevent thousands of cancers every year.

ShowImage.ashxIn two new appropriations bills now under consideration by Congress, language has been added that would:

  1. Subject the Dietary Guidelines to an arbitrary standard of evidence that doesn’t align with accepted scientific practice observed by other government entities like the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institutes of Medicine, as well as the World Health Organization.
  2. Not allow the Dietary Guidelines to make recommendations on issues closely related to food and nutrition. This would mean, for example, that the clear and convincing evidence about the impact of obesity and inactivity on cancer and other chronic diseases would not be considered.
  3. Prevent the Dietary Guidelines from:
    1. proposing public health ideas to help Americans decrease our national intake of sodium, saturated fat and added sugars
    2. encouraging Americans to increase our physical activity, and
    3. providing practical guidance to families about healthy eating and living

These changes would represent a huge step backward in national health policy, and – crucially, from AICR’s perspective – mean that much of the evidence showing how people can lower their cancer risk would be effectively ignored, including the latest AICR research on the clear and convincing link between obesity and ten of the most common forms of cancer. Continue reading

Some Personal Thoughts on World Cancer Day

Here at AICR, we’re only too aware that behind the statistics – the millions of cancers occurring each year around the globe – there are human lives. Each of those lives tells a unique story.WCD_Logo_GREYSCALE

They’re stories of brave individuals and concerned families. Stories of tireless caregivers and compassionate doctors. Stories of researchers working to make the kind of discoveries that will produce breakthroughs in cancer prevention, treatment and survival. And stories of policy makers and health educators, striving to combat this disease in ways that stand to benefit the world at large.

Most of us have our own stories that help shape the lens through which we view cancer.   My aunt never once used the actual word when she had a recurrence of breast cancer that spread to her bones after an 8 year period of being all clear. She was from a generation that didn’t make a lot of fuss. Continue reading