A Helping Hand From The Experts

Good news: the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has agreed to act as scientific adviser to my Anti-Cancer Challenge. With the help of this highly respected and well-resourced organization, I will be even better equipped to provide reliable and useful information to readers wishing to improve their chances of preventing or overcoming cancer through simple lifestyle changes.

“We are pleased to advise Conner throughout her Challenge,” says Dr Rachel Thompson, science programme manager in charge of nutrition at the WCRF. “A third of the most common cancers could be prevented by eating healthily, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight. Unfortunately many people are not aware this. This is why we are pleased that Conner has launched the Anti-Cancer Challenge. We hope her initiative can help raise public awareness about the links between diet and cancer and show how our recommendations can be incorporated into everyday life.”

Regular readers of my blog will have noticed that I frequently refer to the WCRF for information and recommendations. That’s because I consider this organization to set the gold standard for cancer prevention.

WCRF International, founded in 1982, is a not-for-profit umbrella association unifying a global network of cancer charities dedicated to funding research and education programmes into the link between food, nutrition, physical activity, weight maintenance and cancer risk. The national charities under WCRF International’s umbrella are based in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and France.

The WCRF is best known for its landmark report “Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a global perspective” (WCRF/AICR 2007). The report is the most comprehensive investigation published to date on the links between food, nutrition, physical activity and cancer prevention and is based on the in-depth analysis of over 7,000 scientific studies published on cancer prevention over the last 50 years. A panel of 21 renowned scientists reviewed the research evidence and drew conclusions that led to the WCRF’s recommendations for cancer prevention that underlie my own Anti-Cancer Challenge exercise and diet plans.

In February 2009 the WCRF/AICR published “Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention,” a companion publication to the 2007 report that provides advice and guidance for key groups, such as governments and employers, on what can be done to influence and change people’s lifestyle choices, as they relate to their risk of cancer. All three reports are voluminous but accessible to lay readers with an interest in health and public policy.

Somewhat less visibly, the WCRF also funds research into cancer prevention; to date, the WCRF global network has funded over £64 million (some $97 million) of research. To see the studies the WCRF has helped fund, click here.

For people seeking practical help, the WCRF network supplies a wealth of information free of charge on its websites. The content varies from one country’s website to another, but all the material is equally useful so do consult them all regularly. On the UK website, for instance, you can find an informative blog, tasty recipes and useful information booklets. The US website also offers a frequently-updated blog and research updates you can subscribe to, and more recipes. It may take more than one rainy afternoon to digest all the information available!

For those who do not have any rainy afternoons to spare I aim to condense some of that information, supplemented with material of my own, on this blog by posting practical advice on healthy eating and exercise. For my Anti-Cancer Challenge, I have put together diet, fitness and sleep guidelines that I plan to follow for a year; to join me in the Challenge, simply click to download these guidelines, print them out, stick them on your refrigerator and off you go!

Do share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions or general feedback with the rest of us – if we all chip in just a little, this blog can become a valuable resource helping people around the world keep themselves and their loved ones healthy.