Modifiable Risk Factors for Cancer


Modifiable risk factors for cancer

C J Stein1,2,3 and G A Colditz1,2,3

1Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA

2Cancer Epidemiology Program Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA

3Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Correspondence to: Dr CJ Stein, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. E-mail:

Over 6 million people around the world die from cancer each year. Modifiable risk factors have been linked to a wide range of malignancies, including cancers of the oropharynx, oesophagus, larynx, lung, kidney, bladder, pancreas, skin, stomach, ovary, breast, cervix, uterus, prostate, and colon.

Research indicates that over half of all cancers in developed countries could be prevented if we implemented population-wide measures to promote the following behaviours: reduce tobacco use, increase physical activity, control weight, improve diet, limit alcohol, utilise safer sex practices, get routine cancer screening tests, and avoid excess sun exposure.

British Journal of Cancer (2004) 90, 299-303. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6601509

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