2014 Research In Progress

Estimating the Population Attributable Cancer Risk of Major Modifiable Lifestyle Factors for Albertans: Determining the Top Priorities for Prevention

Christine Friedenreich, Darren Brenner, Anne Grundy, Abbey Poirier, Xin Grevers, Farah Khandwala

Population attributable risks (PARs) are used to quantify the proportion of a disease that can be attributed to an individual exposure. To date, very limited research effort has focused on estimating population attributable risks for modifiable risk factors (such as diet, physical activity or inactivity, and environmental exposure to air and water pollutants) and cancer in Alberta. Since information concerning the fraction of cancer attributable to individual risk factors is essential for both developing and implementing population-based cancer prevention strategies, additional research that begins to address the issue of PAR for modifiable risk factors for cancer in Alberta is needed. The purpose of this study will be to estimate, among adults in Alberta, the frequency of exposure to modifiable risk factors that are consistently associated with cancer risk and to estimate the number of new cancer cases per year that can be attributed to these risk factors. This work will calculate PARs for modifiable cancer risk factors using data from three main sources. Estimates of the risk association between specific risk factors and cancer sites will be obtained from the published scientific literature and information on the proportion of Albertans exposed to an individual risk factor obtained from publically-available government databases, Statistics Canada surveys and published scientific papers. Data on current cancer incidence levels in Alberta will be obtained from the Alberta Cancer Registry. The PAR estimates produced by this study will allow the cancer burden of modifiable cancer risk factors characteristics to be clearly communicated to Albertans and provide a greater understanding about the main causes of cancer in Alberta.