February is National Cancer Prevention Month

Join the American Association for Cancer Research in supporting research to prevent cancer.

The federal government estimates that 2 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer (other than non-melanoma skin cancer) during 2024, and that more than 600,000 will die from their disease. Research shows that more than 40 percent of these cases and nearly half of the deaths can be attributed to preventable causes – smoking, excess body weight, physical inactivity, and excessive exposure to the sun, among others.

This means that steps such as quitting smoking (or never starting in the first place), maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, protecting your skin from the sun, and getting vaccinated against the pathogens that cause certain cancers, can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer in many cases.

Get more information about cancer prevention in the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2022, including facts about how modifying behaviors can impact cancer occurrence and outcomes. And take our Cancer Prevention Quiz to test your knowledge and learn more about cancer risk reduction.

In the United States, many of the greatest reductions in cancer morbidity and mortality have been achieved through the implementation of effective public education and policy initiatives. 

For example, such initiatives drove down cigarette smoking rates among U.S. adults by greater than twofold from 1965 to 2017. But three out of 10 cancer deaths are still caused by cigarette smoking, and lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both men and women. 

It remains imperative that we identify strategies to enhance the dissemination and implementation of our current knowledge of cancer prevention.

The burden of preventable cancer risk factors isn’t shared equally. That burden is higher among racial and ethnic minorities and other medically underserved people. So it’s imperative that we implement effective, evidence-based practices that reduce risky behaviors for everyone. Learn more in the AACR Cancer Disparities Progress Report.

in the news

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can prevent HPV, a risk factor for developing anal, cervical and four other cancers. Yet many young people who have already had cancer choose not to get the HPV vaccine. Why? Read more in Cancer Today magazine: The HPV Vaccine Prevents Cancer. Why Do Many Cancer Survivors Not Get It?

what aacr is doing in the area of cancer prevention

The AACR is committed to advancing the science of cancer prevention. The AACR Cancer Prevention Working Group provides a forum for communication and collaboration among basic, translational, and clinical scientists, physicians, nurses, as well as practicing medical, surgical, and oncologists in academia, industry, and government.

The AACR works with a wide range of partners in biomedical research to develop strategies and promising approaches to prevention, aiming to stop cancer before it starts. 

Our ten peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention and Cancer Prevention Research, feature leading-edge research in the field.