Background: To contribute to evidence-based policy decision making for national cancer control, we conducted a systematic assessment to estimate the current burden of cancer attributable to known preventable risk factors in Japan in 2005.
Methods: We first estimated the population attributable fractions (PAFs) of each cancer attributable to known risk factors from relative risks derived primarily from Japanese pooled analyses and large-scale cohort studies and the prevalence of exposure in the period around 1990. Using nationwide vital statistics records and incidence estimates, we then estimated the attributable cancer incidence and mortality in 2005.
Results: In 2005, ≈ 55% of cancer among men was attributable to preventable risk factors in Japan. The corresponding figure was lower among women, but preventable risk factors still accounted for nearly 30% of cancer. In men, tobacco smoking had the highest PAF (30% for incidence and 35% for mortality, respectively) followed by infectious agents (23% and 23%). In women, in contrast, infectious agents had the highest PAF (18% and 19% for incidence and mortality, respectively) followed by tobacco smoking (6% and 8%).
Conclusions: In Japan, tobacco smoking and infections are major causes of cancer. Further control of these factors will contribute to substantial reductions in cancer incidence and mortality in Japan.