Alcohol and sugar laws needed to stem ‘cancer tidal wave’

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tough action to curb the consumption of sugary drinks and alcohol would help to stem 'the cancer tidal wave', said the WHO
Tough action to curb the consumption of sugary drinks and alcohol would help to stem 'the cancer tidal wave', said the WHO

Related tags: Nutrition

Tough new controls on alcohol and sugary drinks are needed to combat “a tidal wave” of cancer that is set to sweep the globe over the next 20 years, warns the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Its report – The WHO’s World Cancer Report 2014 – warned that while the number of cancer cases would reach 24M a year by 2035, half could be prevented.

But the promotion of healthy eating and lifestyles alone – would not be enough to stem the flood of new cancer cases. “Lessons from cancer control measures in high income countries show that prevention works but that health promotion alone is insufficient,”​ said the WHO.

‘Adequate legislation’

“Adequate legislation plays an important role in reducing exposure and risk behaviours,” ​it claimed.

In particular, governments should take similar action to control alcohol and sugar consumption as those used to tackle tobacco, the report argued. “Similar approaches​ [to those used against tobacco] needed to be evaluated in other areas, notably consumption of alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages …,” ​said the WHO.

Each year 14M people are diagnosed with cancer, but that number is forecast to rise to 19M by 2025, 22M by 2030 and 24M by 2035.

The WHO research revealed widespread lack of awareness about the role of diet in preventing cancer – particualry in the developing world, which was where most of the new cases were likely to occur.

'Tidal wave of cancer'

Dr Bernard Steward, one of the report's editors from the University of New South Wales in Australia, said prevention had “a crucial role in combatting the tidal wave of cancer, which we see coming across the world”,​ according to BBC News. 

While many were aware of the accute effects of alcohol – manifested in the forms of car accidents and assaults – it also generated a largely unrecognised disease burden.“The extent to which we modify the availability of alcohol, the labelling of alcohol, the promotion and the price of alcohol – those things should be on the agenda.”

The same applied to the cancer risk associated with obesity, fuelled by sugar-rich drinks, he added.

Dr Christopher Wild, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and co-editor of the report, said: “Despite exciting advances, this report shows that we cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem.

“More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement improved treatments and address the alarming rise in the cancer burden globally.”

But the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) highlighted obesity was influenced by a range of factors. Gavin Partington, BSDA director general, said: “The World Health Organisation itself acknowledges that obesity is the result of multiple factors including an unbalanced diet, lack of exercise and modern lifestyles, so to blame one set of products is misguided, particularly when they comprise a mere 2% of calories in the average diet.”

Soft drinks manufacturers have led the way in reducing sugar in their products. he added. “Companies with market share of about 60% are now signed up to the Responsibility Deal calorie reduction pledge.

“Furthermore, soft drinks manufacturers are committed to providing on-pack nutritional information, wider availability of smaller portion sizes and have also substantially increased their advertising and marketing expenditure on low and zero calorie drinks.”

More information about the report is available here​.

 

 Sources of preventable cancers

  • Alcohol
  • Delayed parenthood, fewer children and the decline of breastfeeding
  • Obesity and inactivity
  • Radiation, both from the sun and medical scans
  • Smoking

Source: WHO

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

The Future of the Manufacturing CFO

The Future of the Manufacturing CFO

SAGE | 18-Mar-2020 | Technical / White Paper

Although controlling costs and keeping an eye on margins is still within the remit of manufacturing CFOs, they are now under pressure to become a business...

Modern ERP system enables food waste reduction

Modern ERP system enables food waste reduction

Epicor | 05-Sep-2019 | Technical / White Paper

We’re all becoming increasingly aware and mindful of wastage in our personal lives. Food waste is already a significant concern for the food and beverage...

3 comments

Cancer & Insulin

Posted by Stella Metsovas B.S.,

Research is closely monitoring insulin levels and cancer origin and progression. The World Health Organization is correct in its assessment.
In Health,
Stella Metsovas B.S.
www.stellametsovas.com

Report abuse

An Apple a day?

Posted by Phil Hoden,

Keeps the doctor away, but watch out for the sugar content!!!

Report abuse

Junk science at the UN

Posted by Lee Topham,

Every country should rush out to make laws based on unproven, junk science.

Then next year, when a study shows the opposite effect, they can make even more laws to enforce the next theory.

It's all about power folks. They want the power to run your life because you are too dumb to make your own decisions.

Report abuse

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars