“Successful prevention strategies will have the most long-term effect on eradicating cancers for future generations.”
Only half of patients who develop cancer can be cured with existing therapies; the other half will die of their disease. Therapeutic interventions have improved, converting some previously fatal cancers to ones that can be treated like other chronic diseases. However, even under these circumstances, patients will suffer chronic morbidities that limit their quality of life. Successful prevention strategies will have the most long-term effect on eradicating cancers for future generations.
Changes in lifestyle behaviours might reduce the cancer burden: our genes are a predisposition, not necessarily our fate. Our genetic background, however, affects where and how tumours develop, which could improve screening and pre-emptive preventive strategies. Thus both lifestyle and targeted chemopreventative strategies are required to achieve a substantial reduction in cancer burden.
Precision-based cancer prevention is now possible. The technologies are available to identify the earliest genetic changes and their associated expressed mutant proteins. Once known, these targets can be used to develop safe and effective targeted chemoprevention and novel vaccine approaches.
Important priorities include the development of a Premalignant Cancer Atlas to expand current understanding of precancer biology, the improvement of immune-based cancer prevention ensuring that it is safe and without substantial (short-term or long-term) severe adverse effects, and the development of cancer vaccines.
Increasing research in lifestyle medicine (including nutrition, exercise, stress management, smoking cessation, and social support) and the association with cancer risk and prevention will be needed, alongside enhance national, state, and institutional messaging and interventions on healthier and more active lifestyles to prevent cancer.