Cancer Research for cancer prevention

Key publications highlighting opportunities and priorities for cancer prevention

The following publications, all available through open access, provide a wide–ranging description of the scope and opportunities both for implementing cancer prevention strategies and for conducting novel research into cancer prevention. The publications are complemented by a series of short video interviews and talks available online where the IARC Director discusses cancer prevention and research.

World Cancer Report 2014

IARC published World Cancer Report 2014 with the collaboration of more than 250 leading scientists from more than 40 countries, describing multiple aspects of cancer research and control. The Report emphasizes the need for prevention to address the alarming rise in the cancer burden globally. About half of all cancers could be avoided if current knowledge was adequately implemented.

International Agency for Research on Cancer: The first 50 years, 1965-2015

This book by IARC Director Christopher P. Wild and former Chief of the Unit of Analytical Epidemiology Rodolfo Saracci highlights 50 years of scientific developments of the basic theme inspiring IARC's work: cancer research firmly directed to cancer prevention. The theme runs prominently through the three chapters describing the origins of the Agency in the 1960s and projecting a vision for the future. Nine chapters review key IARC contributions: to the detailed demonstration of the unequal distribution of the cancer burden throughout the world; to the search for cancer causes, leading to prevention via control of harmful exposures; and to the evaluation of early diagnosis programmes, leading to effective treatment. The book is published in English and French.

Cancer prevention as a part of precision medicine: "plenty to be done"

This review published in Carcinogenesis by IARC Director Dr Christopher Wild and colleagues outlines the novel opportunities to develop new avenues for cancer prevention based on advances in understanding the molecular basis of cancer. The article emphasizes a broad prevention perspective stretching from the submicroscopic to the macropolitical, recognizing that interventions may just as easily rely on a legislative measure as on a molecule.

Global cancer patterns: causes and prevention

In this review in The Lancet, IARC Director Dr Christopher Wild and long-time collaborator Professor Paolo Vineis show that in view of the growing global cancer burden, primary prevention is a particularly effective approach to curbing the increase. The article emphasizes the value of “structural interventions” (including bans, taxation, and urban planning) at a population level to complement prevention aimed at individuals.

Long-term realism and cost-effectiveness: primary prevention in combatting cancer and associated inequalities worldwide

In this report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Dr Freddie Bray, Head of the IARC Section of Cancer Surveillance, and colleagues assess data collated in the recent second edition of The Cancer Atlas by the American Cancer Society and IARC, to show that a substantial proportion of cancers are preventable and that prevention is cost-effective.

Precision in the Fight against the Global Cancer Problem

In this interview with the journal, IARC Director Dr Christopher Wild stresses the importance of precision medicine in the fight against cancer and makes the argument for greater emphasis on cancer prevention to address the growing cancer burden worldwide.

Meeting the global demands of epidemiologic transition - The indispensable role of cancer prevention

In this review published in Molecular Oncology, IARC Director Dr Christopher Wild and Dr Silvia Franceschi, Special Advisor on Noncommunicable Diseases and Head of the IARC Infections and Cancer Epidemiology Group, emphasize the preventive interventions that are already available to reduce the cancer burden worldwide.

The Role of Cancer Research in Noncommunicable Disease Control

In this Commentary in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, IARC Director Dr Christopher Wild describes how the generic approach to combat noncommunicable diseases needs to be complemented by additional measures for cancer control, tailored to national and regional priorities, in order to reduce the growing cancer burden worldwide.

European Code against Cancer 4th Edition: 12 ways to reduce your Cancer risk (

This special issue of Cancer Epidemiology presents the scientific evidence and methodology used in preparing the 4th edition of the European Code Against Cancer, led by Dr Joachim Schüz, Head of the IARC Section of Environment and Radiation, and Dr Lawrence von Karsa, former Head of the IARC Quality Assurance Group. The European Code Against Cancer is an initiative of the European Commission to inform people about actions they can take to reduce their risk of cancer. The 4th edition consists of 12 recommendations to reduce your cancer risk, together with Questions and Answers that provide additional information about each recommendation and related aspects of cancer prevention.

Translational cancer research: balancing prevention and treatment to combat cancer globally

In this Commentary in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, IARC Director Dr Christopher Wild is joined by leading international cancer researchers in highlighting how the latest knowledge on the underlying molecular pathways leading to cancer also offers fresh opportunities for cancer prevention, by applying the advances in understanding mechanisms to population-based studies.

Genomics of cancer and a new era for cancer prevention

In this article published in PLoS Genetics, IARC Director Dr Christopher Wild and Dr Paul Brennan, Head of the IARC Section of Genetics, identify key areas where genomics can make important inroads into prevention and early detection, including the identification of new causes through the detection of somatic mutation signatures.