World Cancer Day: Connecting Global Action to Personal Stories

Since 2000, World Cancer Day has been an annual occasion for us to reflect on current progress and future action needed for cancer prevention, detection and treatment. World Cancer Day 2014 statistics show that people who engage in risky but modifiable lifestyle Vivica Kraak_Deakin photo_2013behaviors — smoking, unhealthy alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, and a poor diet — will be among the 25 million new annual cases.

Each one of these new cancer cases and cancer deaths has a personal story attached to it. Here is why this year’s World Cancer Day has special relevance and how cancer has affected my life.

In May 2013, representatives of 194 countries at the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva approved a landmark resolution to reduce non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25 percent by 2025. NCDs, which include cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, are illnesses that are non-infectious, chronic and slow to progress.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Global Action Plan 2013-2020 encourages collaborative partnerships among government agencies, public-interest groups and the private sector to reach this ambitious outcome. Country representatives committed to track and report their progress — using 9 goals and 25 indicators — to create healthy food environments, promote physical activity and strengthen health systems. Continue reading


For Cancer Researchers, A Social Media Wake-Up Call

This year, AICR is trying something different at our Annual Research Conference on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer next week. Something we hope will act as a clarion call for cancer researcher and health professionals.canstockphoto6433880

We’ve all gone to conferences where the social media engagement is limited to attendees being encouraged to tweet their experiences. But at a breakfast session first thing in the morning on November 8th, AICR is hosting a special panel to discuss how scientists can engage in meaningful conversations with the public using social media.

There is an urgent need for responsible, evidence-based cancer information in social media, and unfortunately this need, in many cases, is now being met by self-appointed health “gurus” who make unverifiable or patently false claims. Now is the time for informed, rational voices to enter the furious ongoing discussion. We must provide context and sober, well-informed resources and information.

Social media gives scientists and practitioners with a means of sharing their work and engaging in a meaningful two-way discussion with a wider audience. Continue reading


Gaps in Breast Cancer Research: Getting You to Eat Well and Exercise

You may know that being a healthy weight and exercising can cut your risk of breast cancer, but understanding how to translate these recommendations into action is one of the “critical gaps” in research that can save lives, finds a new study published in Breast Cancer Research.Unveiling #1 - Covered & Confident

The study, which comes at the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month, identifies ten critical gaps in breast cancer research. The authors include more than 100 experts.

Developing interventions and support to improve breast cancer survivors’ health and well-being is another gap in the research. Other critical areas where more research is needed include genetics, molecular markers, treatment and tailored screening and survivorship materials. Convincing clinicians to shift their practice into prevention is another area that needs work, according to the study.

You can read all ten gaps the authors identify in the paper.

As the study points out, when it comes to lifestyle change for breast cancer prevention, there remain many unknowns. We don’t know the relative affect of lifestyle changes on lowering the risk of different types of breast cancers, such as ER negative or ER positive. Does the effect of eating habits depend upon whether you are 15 years old or 50? And how many years do these lifestyle interventions offer protection? Continue reading