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Public Health (14-10-2014)

4th European Code Against Cancer launched today

Today sees the launch of an updated European Code Against Cancer – the fourth edition of the Code since its creation in 1987. With the knowledge that the risk of having cancer can, to a certain extent, be reduced by adopting healthier lifestyles, and outcomes greatly improved if cancer is detected early on, the Code aims to arm citizens with key information through its 12 recommendations.

"This new Code is based on the very latest scientific evidence. It is an important tool for cancer prevention for individuals, governments, health advisers, and policy-makers. It provides a foundation for creating healthy environments and adopting healthier lifestyles to prevent cancer," said John F. Ryan, acting Director of the Public Health Directorate, European Commission.

The Code emphasizes the importance of avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and excessive sun exposure as well as the benefits of maintaining a healthy body weight and being physically active. It also recommends participation in organized programmes for bowel, breast, and cervical cancer screening. This edition of the Code includes other important recommendations to reduce cancer risk, such as vaccination against human papillomavirus, breastfeeding, and limiting the use of hormone replacement therapy.

“The Code raises awareness of the critical role of prevention in the fight against cancer,” says IARC Director Dr Christopher Wild. “By adopting the Code, all European citizens can take concrete actions for themselves, their friends and families to significantly reduce their risk of developing cancer.”

The updated Code is the result of a project coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and co-financed by European Commission’s Health Programme . It is the outcome of a two-year collaborative work between cancer specialists, scientists, and other experts from across the European Union.

  • Link to the Code - EN version (other language versions will be available in the coming weeks)
  • Questions and Answers that provide additional information about the recommendations and the different types of cancer they help to prevent are also published on the IARC website