Playing the Odds: What We Mean by “Prevention”

Cancer prevention: It’s what AICR is all about. We fund research, analyze data and produce recommendations, all with the same goal in mind — saving lives.

We want to reduce the burden tbigstock-Magnifying-Glass-Person-Search-5197835hat cancer places on the population, both in lives lost, as well as in the billions of dollars now spent on cancer care. We want to make cancer much, much more rare.

When researchers and policy makers talk about “cancer prevention,” that’s what they mean. They’re looking at the issue from the population level, with the goal of reducing the number of cases of cancer that occur within a given group.

When we at AICR talk to the research community or policy makers, “prevention” is the word we use, as its nuanced technical meaning is generally understood.

But when we talk to individuals – when we translate the science into practical, easy-to-understand information that people can use in their daily lives, we have to be careful. Continue reading


Study: AICR Recommendations Lower Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Man eating watermelonA new study appearing in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found that following at least four AICR/WCRF recommendations for cancer prevention reduced men’s risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer tumors by 38%.

The study, which came out of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, looked at adherence to seven of AICR’s ten recommendations in over two-thousand African-American and Caucasian men aged 40-70 recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. The risk of aggressive tumor development was found to be lower in those men who followed four or more recommendations regardless of race.

Why should I pay attention?  I thought only old guys in their eighties got prostate cancer.  After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer sometime during his life.  In 2013, almost 239,000 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and nearly 30,000 will die from the disease.  Being overweight, smoking, and a lack of vegetables in the diet are linked to a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer (as opposed to the slower-growing form of prostate cancer). Aggressive cancers mean lower survival rates, making these findings on preventing aggressive forms even more relevant. Continue reading


“Unfit for Human Consumption”: Processed Meat Science vs. Spin

meat delicaciesWell, it sure got people’s attention, we’ll say that for sure. But is it accurate?

Last week a blog post from an organization called the Institute for Natural Healing picked up on one of the 10 AICR/WCRF Recommendations for the Prevention of Cancer first published back in 2007. That blog post has since gone viral (it’s been shared tens of thousands of times across many different social media platforms), and has attracted the attention of the news media, who have now approached us for comment.

Neither AICR nor our international partners, the World Cancer Research Fund, have any connection to the Institute for Natural Healing, whose website sells “natural” dietary supplements to treat conditions ranging from cancer to heart disease to male potency. (AICR/WCRF’s report and continuous updates have found that when it comes to cancer, it’s better to rely on whole diets, not dietary supplements, to reduce your risk.)

Last week’s INH blog post specifically spotlighted the AICR/WCRF recommendation to avoid processed meat (a category which includes hot dogs, sausage, bacon and cold cuts — for more information, see the AICR Blog post “What is Processed Meat, Anyway?”). That recommendation, at least, is real. It is the conclusion of an independent panel of leading scientists convened by AICR/WCRF who, following the largest, most comprehensive review of international research ever undertaken, judged the evidence that processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer to be convincing. This review was published in 2007 and was subsequently confirmed in 2011. Continue reading