We’re delighted by the huge amount of interest there’s been in our cancer prevention report Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: a Global Perspective since it was launched on 24 May, and our updated Cancer Prevention Recommendations which stem from it.
We want people to have our recommendations – the result of a huge, worldwide research review exercise and the most authoritative cancer prevention advice currently available – so that everyone can make their own, informed lifestyle choices. We know that’s not always easy, which is why we are calling upon government to create environments where living healthily is possible for everyone.
Meanwhile, we’re not banning any foods or telling anyone how they should live their life: it’s our mission as a cancer prevention charity to make available the best advice on cancer prevention there is. We understand that it can feel as if a different story comes out every week about this food or that food causing or protecting against cancer. But our updated Cancer Prevention Recommendations are based on scientific evidence that has actually proved consistent for decades. We’re certainly not suggesting that the odd bacon sandwich or glass of wine is going to automatically give anyone cancer, but our research does show that it’s the overall pattern of eating, drinking and exercising across a lifetime that counts, and that following our Cancer Prevention Recommendations as a long-term package will reduce your cancer risk.
With around one in six deaths annually worldwide now due to cancer; with 359,734 cases of cancer diagnosed in the UK alone in 2015, and with so many of us today now bombarded with advertising and information about what we eat, we wanted to create a quick, user-friendly way for people to access our ‘blueprint to beat cancer’ -- to find out how their current lifestyle might be affecting their cancer risk and to support them in any areas where they might want to change. That’s why we’ve created our new, online cancer health check, and an advertising campaign to promote it.
The campaign shows people that there are things they can do to protect themselves against cancer. Many people think it’s down to genes or bad luck, but in fact around 40% of cancers are preventable, and one of the most important ways we can reduce our risk, after not smoking, is to watch what we eat, our weight and how active we are. Our new cancer health check gives people an easy way to find out how their current lifestyle is affecting their cancer risk and support them in any areas where they might want to change.
The adverts are hard-hitting. They deliberately catch the eye, subverting the sort of imagery we’re used to seeing on the front covers of glossy magazines, and asking ‘Are you making yourself attractive to cancer?’ But they show how people can take some control. While there are no guarantees with cancer, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting it, such as eating a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight – so all the adverts link to our new online cancer health check, where everyone can get advice and support.