Methodology and scope

This position statement was developed by Cancer Australia, based on existing high level evidence and evidence reviews. Information was primarily sourced from: the 2012 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs on tobacco, alcohol, UV radiation and infectious agents,5-7 the 2007 World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) report Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective,8 and subsequent WCRF and AICR tumour-specific updates for breast, pancreatic, colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, prostate and liver cancers.9-15 (Refer to Appendix 1 for more detail.) Evidence from additional systematic reviews, meta-analyses and studies, particularly those published after 2007, was also included where relevant. National and international leaders in cancer provided input through an external review of the position statement. Cancer Australia recommendations to reduce cancer risk have been developed, based on the available evidence from the IARC Monographs and the WCRF and AICR reports, with consideration of the Australian context and relevant Australian guidelines.

This position statement focuses on modifiable lifestyle factors where individual behavioural changes can reduce risk of cancers that are relevant to the Australian population. The scope of this position statement covers primary prevention of cancer through seven modifiable lifestyle factors, namely: tobacco, overweight and obesity, physical activity and sedentary behaviour, diet, alcohol, UV radiation and infections.

Outside this scope are occupational and environmental factors, which account for a lesser proportion of cancer than lifestyle factors.2,16 Other factors, such as risk-reducing medication, family history of cancer and screening are not included in this position statement. Information about Australian screening programs is available from: