As roughly 40% of all cancers are considered preventable, prevention is high on the political agenda. Vaccination programs, environmental policies and supporting healthy lifestyles feature prominently all over the world, including within Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.
When prevention works, it is a cost-effective element of any long-term cancer control strategy. Little is known, however, about the actual effects and causal links between preventive policies on cancer incidence, and mortality. Evidence linking prevention to verified results is scarce, and often unclear regarding which policies and programs work, and to what degree.
How strong is the case for cancer prevention? How should prevention be incorporated into national cancer plans? And ultimately, what is the role of prevention in evidenced-based health policy decision-making?