International Cancer Organisation Launches New Flagship Research Programme

Leading cancer prevention and survival research organisation, World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF International), has launched the Global Cancer Update Programme, ahead of the World Cancer Congress on 18th–20th October.

The Global Cancer Update Programme is a new and updated version of its flagship research programme – previously known as the Continuous Update Project – which includes the world’s largest global cancer prevention and survivorship database.

The Global Cancer Update Programme database contains over 12,000 papers on cancer prevention and survival; these have been synthesised and critiqued by over 140 scientists from 17 countries.

The programme analyses the findings from all the existing research, including the most recent research papers, producing strong evidence. Previous work in this area helped to underpin the development of the ground-breaking Third Expert Report, which assessed the evidence across 17 cancer types and included updates to WCRF International’s Cancer Prevention Recommendations.

The key areas of focus for the future will be cancer incidence, cancer survivorship, cancer mechanisms, and obesity. For the first time, WCRF International will also look at the impact of food, nutrition, body weight and physical activity on children with cancer from diagnosis to adult life.

The Global Cancer Update Programme will expand into other new areas, including the impact of different dietary and lifestyle patterns and factors in early life on future cancer risk.

WCRF International will also be undertaking a brand-new series of reviews on cancer survivorship that will primarily focus on breast, colorectal, prostate and childhood cancers.

Determining the impact that diet, nutrition, physical activity and body weight have on children with cancer (from diagnosis into adult life) has also been identified by the Global Cancer Update Programme Panel as a particular area of importance.

The findings from all of the research undertaken within the Global Cancer Update Programme will be judged by a Panel of independent global experts. They will judge the evidence, draw conclusions and make recommendations after each systematic review. This will allow WCRF International to make recommendations for breast, colorectal, prostate, and childhood cancer survivors within the next five years.

The processes established within the Global Cancer Update Programme offer a unique and efficient approach to synthesising evidence and establishing evidence-based recommendations. Through refocusing its efforts, WCRF International aims to advance new knowledge and address critical gaps in cancer research.

Professor Lord John Krebs, chair of the Global Cancer Update Programme, said: ‘The Global Cancer Update Programme is a one-of-a-kind research programme in its field. The new developments in its aims and focus areas will allow WCRF International to build on its extensive and existing cancer knowledge, equipping the scientific community with an even greater ability to prevent, treat and manage cancer.’

Marilyn Gentry, President at WCRF International Network, said: ‘First and foremost, cancer prevention is the basis of what we do at WCRF International – but our increasing priority is also to improve cancer survival rates.’

‘We’re extremely proud to be the first organisation to have focused on the link between cancer, diet and nutrition. Now we can strive further with our Global Cancer Update Programme and deepen our understanding of cancer prevention and survival.’

Dr Helen Croker, head of Research Interpretation at WCRF International, said: ‘One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime, yet we know that around 40% of cancers could be prevented through maintaining a healthy diet, physical activity and body weight, along with not smoking and avoiding sun exposure.’

‘We are looking forward to further deepening our knowledge and understanding about cancer prevention and survival with the launch of the Global Cancer Update Programme, and ultimately helping to reduce the number of people developing cancer or surviving from it.’