It is less known that the Erasmus program, through which students circulate throughout Europe. But he saved thousands of lives and deserves at least as much attention in the year 2017 where we celebrate, like Erasmus, his 30 th birthday. This is the “Europe against cancer”. An ambitious initiative that continues today his work of prevention through its 12 commandments, the “European Code against Cancer ‘.
“Do not smoke,” the first commandment in the latest edition of the Code, updated in 2014. And so on to the twelfth.
- Do not smoke.
- Make your home and car smoke-free environments.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and complete grains. Limit red meat, foods high in fat, salt or sugar, and avoid processed meats.
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Be physically active in your daily life.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure, especially in children. Use a sunscreen. Do not use tanning equipment.
- Take appropriate measures to reduce your risk of possible exposure to radon at home.
- Follow the safety instructions in your workplace to protect against carcinogens.
- For women: If possible, breastfeed your children. Limit hormonal treatment of menopause.
- Vaccinate your child against hepatitis B (newborns) and human papillomavirus (girls).
- Participate in screening programs for colorectal cancer (men and women), breast cancer and cervical cancer (women).
In France, 18,300 lives saved in 2000
Today, research can estimate the number of lives saved by the Code. At unchanged behavior of citizens and public authorities, and given the aging population, the number of annual cancer deaths in the Twelve from 1985 to 2000 should increase from 850,000 to slightly more than 1 000 000. An impact study conducted in 2003 by the International Agency for research on cancer (IARC) shows that the reduction in deaths (adjusted for demographics) was 9.2% over this period , slightly lower than the 15% initially targeted. Thus, the Code has avoided 92,500 cancer deaths in 2000 in the Europe of the Twelve, including 18 300 in France.
The strength of this public health program, very innovative at the time of its launch, is symbolized by his tutelage. The European Commission, then chaired by Jacques Delors, had placed under the authority of Vice President Manuel Marin in charge of social affairs, and not under the Research Commissioner as expected for a high dimension program medical. It was a real paradigm shift, promoted by the President of the Committee of European cancer experts, Professor Maurice Tubiana – who died in 2013.
For the first time, we solemnly informing all citizens of the Twelve that they could themselves, a proactive behavior, reduce their risk of cancer – and mortality from this disease – with an impact power comparable to the advances in biology care and research. The objective was to change attitudes in the population, while the government would adopt in parallel the appropriate measures to prevent cancer and detect early.
Still relevant recommendations, 30 years later
It is remarkable that, 30 years later, the twelve recommendations have retained their relevance and remain the foundation not only of the fight against cancer, but also in the fight against chronic and degenerative diseases, which account for about two-thirds of spending care in our country.
Let one by one the causes of cancer, starting with tobacco, one preventable cause of cancer death. He was responsible for 47,000 (31.3%) of the 150,000 cancer deaths registered in France in 2015, according to the National Cancer Institute (Inca) . It is never too late to quit smoking, and to smoke out the other. Passive smoking is indeed responsible for 1,000 cancer deaths each year in France.
Alcohol, then, is the second most preventable cause of cancer mortality. It causes 15,000 (10%) cancer deaths. If alcohol consumption, we must reduce the frequency a few days a week and limit the amount consumed more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women – some recommendations are stricter yet .
Food, too. 20 to 25% of cancers are due to our eating behavior. Some foods are proven risk factors, if consumed in excess red meat, sausage, salt, high-calorie foods. In contrast, other foods reduce cancer risks. So, it is advisable to consume daily five fruits and vegetables and other high fiber foods like whole grains (bread, pasta, brown rice) and pulses (lentils, beans).
Thirty minutes of brisk walking five days a week
Overweight and obesity are known risk factors, so that regular physical activity reduces the risk of cancer. We recommend the equivalent of 30 minutes of brisk walking, 5 to 7 days a week.
Abusive UV exposure with the sun or tanning bed, were originally, in 2015, of 15,000 melanoma who trained 1800 death. We must therefore protect from sun and do without tanning equipment.
Radon is the second risk factor for lung cancer. This natural radioactive gas present in the soil of some areas may spread in homes. By learning from the Regional Health Agency, we can know how to measure radon levels of their home. To reduce the concentration of this gas, better floor insulation and better ventilation are needed.
Occupational cancers are responsible for 4 to 10% of cancer deaths. Compliance with instructions for handling and vigilance of occupational medicine are important for prevention.
Hormonal menopause treatments to limit
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer. In contrast, hormone treatments for menopause and the increase should only be prescribed in cases of disorders resulting in impaired quality of life and only for short periods, with regular medical monitoring.
Finally, consult your doctor lets you know how to participate in immunization and screening programs offered by the health authorities.
Since 1988, European League against cancer are mobilizing to raise awareness of these individual measures of cancer prevention.
Today, the Inca estimated 40% the proportion of cancers that could be prevented if all citizens accordingly altered their lifestyle. Circ, he even estimated the rate to 50% – the difference is explained by the fact that the causes of the disease are not yet fully mastered.
In the EU, 24 countries launched their cancer Plan since 2000. France has hers in 2003. The European fight against cancer continues within the EU Health Program for the period 2014 -2020, with 450 million euros. His goal: “Reduce by 15% by 2020, the number of new cancers in the Union.” Again, the wide dissemination of the Code is a condition for this new objective.
[The original version in French at https://theconversation.com/les-12-commandements-europeens-pour-diminuer-son-risque-de-cancer-73329]