Lifestyle changes and vaccines could prevent about 40 percent of all cancers, according to a new report by the International Union Against Cancer.
The document said rates of many leading types of cancers -- such as lung, breast and colon -- could be reduced if people quit smoking, limited alcohol intake, avoided too much sun, and maintained a healthy weight through diet and exercise, the Associated Press reported.
The report authors also noted that about 21 percent of all cancers are the result of infections, such as those caused by human papillomavirus (cervical cancer) and hepatitis (stomach and liver cancer). Vaccines to prevent these infections and cancers are widely available in developed nations but almost unobtainable in poor countries.
"Policymakers around the world have the opportunity and obligation to use these vaccines to save people's lives and educate their communities towards lifestyle choices and control measures that reduce their risk of cancer," Cary Adams, chief executive officer of the International Union Against Cancer, said in a news release, the AP reported.
The document was released to mark World Cancer Day on Thursday.
Cancer causes one out of every eight deaths worldwide -- more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, according to the World Health Organization. If major prevention action is not taken, the number of cancer deaths worldwide will rise from about 7.6 million this year to 17 million by 2030, the AP said.