According to a 2005 study by international cancer collaborators, more than 30% of cancer could be prevented by avoiding key risk factors which include: tobacco use, being overweight, low fruit and vegetable intake, physical inactivity and alcohol use.
- increase avoidance of the risk factors listed above
- vaccinate against human papilloma virus (HPV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV)
- control occupational hazards
- reduce exposure to sunlight
About one-third of the cancer burden could be decreased if cases were detected and treated early. Early detection of cancer is based on the observation that treatment is more effective when cancer is detected earlier. The aim is to detect the cancer when it is localized (before metastasis). There are two components of early detection efforts:
- Education to help people recognize early signs of cancer and seek prompt medical attention for symptoms, which might include: lumps, sores, persistent indigestion, persistent coughing, and bleeding from the body's orifices.
- Screening programmes to identify early cancer or pre-cancer before signs are recognizable, including mammography for breast cancer, and cytology (a "pap smear") for cervical cancer.
Treatment and care
- Treatment aims to cure, prolong life and improve quality of life for patients. Some of the most common cancer types, such as breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer, have high cure rates when detected early and treated according to best practice. Principal treatment methods are surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Fundamental for adequate treatment is an accurate diagnosis through imaging technology (ultrasound, endoscopy or radiography) and laboratory (pathology) investigations.
- Relief from pain and other problems can be achieved in over 90% of cancer patients through palliative care. Effective ways exist to provide palliative care for patients and their families in low resource settings.