Pollution -- both indoor and outdoor -- is a major topic of the International Conference on Environmental and Occupational Determinants of Cancer event.

Conference to Issue Call to Action on Environmental, Occupational Cancers

Asbestos, solar exposure, and pollution -- both indoor and outdoor -- are areas to be discussed during the March 17-18 WHO meeting in Asturias, Spain.

The World Health Organization has organized what it calls the first international conference about the primary prevention of cancer through environmental and occupational interventions, and it will take place this week in Asturias, Spain. The March 17-18 event will result in a "call to action," according to WHO, to strengthen prevention of these types of cancer within countries' existing cancer control programs.

Exposures to asbestos, solar radiation, and pollution -- both indoor and outdoor -- are major topics of the International Conference on Environmental and Occupational Determinants of Cancer event. The other organizers are the Spanish government and the Regional Government of Asturias. The event will bring together public health experts, epidemiologists, health promotion and behavioral specialists, policymakers, government representatives, NGOs, and others to discuss the economic impact of cancer, funding, prevention strategies, the latest scientific evidence linking exposures to cancers, how to translate research into prevention strategies, and strategies for uncertain risks, such as electromagnetic fields.

The March 11 MMWR includes a study by CDC and the National Cancer Institute showing that the number of cancer survivors in the United States increased from 3 million in 1971 to 11.7 million in 2007. (The study defined "cancer survivor" as anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer from the time of diagnosis through the balance of his or her life. More than a million people were alive in 2007 after being diagnosed with cancer 25 years or more earlier, according to CDC.) Of the 11.7 million survivors in 2007, 6.3 million were women, 7 million were age 65 or older, and the largest groups were breast cancer survivors (22 percent), prostate cancer survivors (19 percent) and colorectal cancer survivors (10 percent).

"It's good news that so many are surviving cancer and leading long, productive, and healthy lives," said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., MPH. "Preventing cancer and detecting it early remain critically important as some cancers can be prevented or detected early enough to be effectively treated. Not smoking, getting regular physical activity, eating healthy foods, and limiting alcohol use can reduce the risk of many cancers."

To determine the number of survivors, the authors analyzed the number of new cases and follow-up data from NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program between 1971 and 2007. Population data from the 2006 and 2007 United States Census were also included. The researchers estimated the number of persons ever diagnosed with cancer who were alive on Jan. 1, 2007 (except non-melanoma skin cancers, which are fairly common and rarely fatal).

For the full report, visit http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/.

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