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Regional experts confirmed the need to develop a set of messages to prevent cancer for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), as evidence based messages to raise population awareness and understanding about how to reduce cancer risk.

Experts in cancer prevention, tobacco control, alcohol reduction, nutrition, occupational and environmental health and communications gathered on April 24 and 25, 2017, in Washington DC, convened by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to discuss the methodology and scope of this new initiative. It builds upon the experiences of the European Code Against Cancer, which promotes 12 ways to reduce cancer risk.

Group-Cancer prevention LAC 24Apr2017In LAC there are approximately 1.2 million new cancer cases and 600,000 deaths from cancer each year. This situation is expected to worsen and by 2030, a 65% increase in cancer incidence and a 75% increase in cancer mortality is anticipated in LAC. An estimated one third of cancers could be prevented by reducing the main risk factors, notably by reducing tobacco use, reducing alcohol consumption, improving healthy diet and exercise, reducing exposures to environmental and occupational carcinogens, vaccination against HPV and HBV, and increasing participation in screening programs. Therefore, increasing population awareness about cancer risk factors and how to reduce risks can be a powerful tool to mitigate the rise of cancer in the Region.

During the meeting, the patterns of cancer and their risk factors in LAC were reviewed and the needs for cancer prevention messages were discussed. There was consensus that the European Code of Cancer should be adapted to the context and situation of the LAC region, as a set of comprehensive risk reduction messages specific to cancer. The messages will be based on established evidence about what causes cancer and how risks can be reduced, as well as tailored to the main cancer types and risk factors in the LAC population. The document will include simple messages targeted to the general population, as well as summarize the evidence on cancer prevention strategies. It will serve to raise awareness, be an advocacy tool and empower individuals with information to help promote healthy lifestyles and influence public policies for cancer prevention.

PAHO and IARC will work together with a scientific committee and expert working groups, composed of researchers and public health practitioners from LAC to update the literature and evidence base and develop cancer prevention recommendations relevant to the LAC context. 

Presentations and documents

pdf Agenda

Day 1

Day 2

Related links