Section of Evidence Synthesis and Classification

IARC Handbooks Group


The IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention critically review and evaluate the published scientific evidence on cancer-preventive measures that could be used in cancer control. These measures include public health policies for interventions for primary prevention with pharmacological or immunological agents, foods, and behaviour changes (e.g. non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamin D, and increased physical activity), as well as interventions for secondary prevention (e.g. screening for cancers of the cervix, breast, or colorectum).

To achieve such evaluations, IARC convenes an international, interdisciplinary Working Group of expert scientists to develop each volume of the Handbooks. IARC selects these experts based on their knowledge and experience and the absence of real or apparent conflicting interests. The Working Group writes a critical review of the pertinent scientific literature and an evaluation of the potential of each agent or intervention to prevent cancer in humans. Agents and interventions are selected for evaluation based on (i) evidence of human exposure or feasibility of intervention and (ii) some published scientific evidence of cancer-preventive effects.

National and international health agencies use the IARC Handbooks to guide and support their actions to promote action for primary and secondary prevention. The objective is to achieve the highest degree of scientific authority and trust in these evaluations.

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