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Research & Evidence: Prevention

An estimated 42% of all cancer cases and nearly one-half of all cancer deaths in the United States in 2014 were attributable to evaluated risk factors, many of which could have been mitigated by effective preventive strategies.
Proportion and Number of Cancer Cases and Deaths Attributable to Potentially Modifiable Risk Factors in the United States
Farhad Islami, MD, PhD; Ann Goding Sauer, MSPH; Kimberly D. Miller, MPH; Rebecca L. Siegel, MPH; Stacey A. Fedewa, PhD, MPH; Eric J. Jacobs, PhD; Marjorie L. McCullough, ScD, RD; Alpa V. Patel, PhD; Jiemin Ma, PhD, MHS; Isabelle Soerjomataram, MD, PhD, MS
CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians

2017

Farhad Islami, MD, PhD; Ann Goding Sauer, MSPH; Kimberly D. Miller, MPH; Rebecca L. Siegel, MPH; Stacey A. Fedewa, PhD, MPH; Eric J. Jacobs, PhD; Marjorie L. McCullough, ScD, RD; Alpa V. Patel, PhD; Jiemin Ma, PhD, MHS; Isabelle Soerjomataram, MD, PhD, MS. "Proportion and Number of Cancer Cases and Deaths Attributable to Potentially Modifiable Risk Factors in the United States." CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, November 21, 2017.

Contemporary information on the fraction of cancers that potentially could be prevented is useful for priority setting in cancer prevention and control. Herein, the authors estimate the proportion and number of invasive cancer cases and deaths, overall (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers) and for 26 cancer types, in adults aged 30 years and older in the United States in 2014, that were attributable to major, potentially modifiable exposures (cigarette smoking; secondhand smoke; excess body weight; alcohol intake; consumption of red and processed meat; low consumption of fruits/vegetables, dietary fiber, and dietary calcium; physical inactivity; ultraviolet radiation; and 6 cancer-associated infections).

2016

Song, Mingyang, MD, ScD; Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD. "Preventable Incidence and Mortality of Carcinoma Associated With Lifestyle Factors Among White Adults in the United States." JAMA Oncology, September 1, 2016.

Lifestyle factors are important for cancer development. However, a recent study has been interpreted to suggest that random mutations during stem cell divisions are the major contributor to human cancer. 

Conclusions and Relevance: A substantial cancer burden may be prevented through lifestyle modification. Primary prevention should remain a priority for cancer control.