American Cancer Society Perspectives on Environmental Factors and Cancer

Authors

  • Elizabeth T. H. Fontham DrPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Professor and Dean, School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA
    • School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 1615 Poydras, Suite 1400, New Orleans, LA 70112
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Michael J. Thun MD,

    1. Vice President Emeritus, Epidemiology and Surveillance Research, American Cancer Society, Inc, Atlanta, GA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Elizabeth Ward PhD,

    1. Vice President, Surveillance and Health Policy Research, American Cancer Society, Inc, Atlanta, GA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Alan J. Balch PhD,

    1. Vice President, Preventive Health Partnership, American Cancer Society-American Diabetes Association-American Heart Association, Atlanta, GA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • John Oliver L. Delancey MPH,

    1. Epidemiologist, Epidemiology and Surveillance Research, American Cancer Society, Inc, Atlanta GA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jonathan M. Samet MD

    1. Professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Cancer prevention is central to the mission of the American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS's prevention activities take many forms, but are primarily focused on modifiable risk factors that have been demonstrated to have the largest impact on cancer risk in the general population (with particular emphasis on tobacco use because of its large impact on cancer), and well-proven policy and program interventions. The ACS addresses nutrition, physical inactivity and obesity, alcohol consumption, excessive sun exposure, prevention of certain chronic infections, and selected other environmental factors through a variety of venues, including consensus guidelines (eg, nutrition and physical activity, human papillomavirus vaccination) and developing educational materials for health care providers and the general public. In contrast to the broad definition of environmental factors used by the ACS and most other public health agencies, some members of the general public associate the term “environmental” only with toxic air and water pollutants and other, predominantly manmade, hazards that people encounter, often involuntarily, in their daily life. This article will provide an overview of the ACS's approach to the prevention of cancer associated with such toxic pollutants in the context of its mission and priorities with respect to cancer prevention. CA Cancer J Clin 2009. © 2009 American Cancer Society.

Ancillary