World Cancer Research Fund UK
World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF UK) is a cancer prevention charity in the UK and is part of the World Cancer Research Fund global network.
WCRF UK funds scientific research into how diet, physical activity and weight affect cancer risk and also funds health information programmes to raise awareness of its message that people can reduce their cancer risk by eating a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight. Its stated vision is to help people make choices that reduce their chances of developing cancer.
WCRF UK was established in 1990. According to its website, it was the first cancer charity in the UK to create awareness of the relationship between diet and cancer risk, to focus funding on research into diet and cancer prevention and to consolidate and interpret global research to create practical messages on reducing risk of cancer.
First Expert Report, Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global perspective expert report was published in 1997 and examined all the available evidence on the links between cancer and diet. According to WCRF International’s website, the report was a “catalyst for change” in stimulating research into diet and cancer.
Second Expert Report: In November 2007, the WCRF global network published Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. Also known as the Second Expert Report. WCRF claims the report is the most comprehensive about cancer prevention to date. Following an initial sweep of half a million research studies eventually, 7,000 were deemed relevant and met the quality criteria for definitive conclusions to be drawn about cancer prevention. A panel of 21 experts then made 10 recommendations for reducing cancer risk.
The launch of the Second Expert Report was a big news story in the UK. The report was described by the New Scientist magazine as a “landmark in our understanding of diet and cancer” while The Economist said: “It is the most rigorous study so far on the links between food, physical activity and cancer”.
The report did receive some negative reaction, with The Sun newspaper publishing a story in response to the report’s advice to avoid eating processed meat and Michael Hanlon, writing in the Daily Mail newspaper, advised people to “ignore these scaremongers”.
However, Project Director of the report Professor Martin Wiseman responded: “Our recommendations are based on the best science available. They are recommendations, not commandments. The whole point of them is to give people the information they need to make their everyday choices informed ones.”
Policy Report: In February 2009, the WCRF global network published Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention, a companion document to the Second Expert Report. It included 48 recommendations for changes that different groups in society can make to help prevent cancer. It also included a preventability study that estimated that a third of the most common cancers in the UK could be prevented through diet, physical activity and weight management.
Cancer Prevention Week: Cancer Prevention week is held by WCRF UK every year in May and include events such as a Beat the Banana! 5k fun run. It also uses Cancer Prevention Week to highlight the fact that many cases of cancer could be prevented through a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.
WCRF UK spends about £2 million per year on scientific research into the links between cancer and diet, physical activity and body weight. This includes about £1 million per year on its grants programme, which funds researchers at universities and research institutions in the UK and overseas.
WCRF International manages and administers the research programme on behalf of WCRF UK. UK researchers can apply for Investigator Initiated grants for a maximum of £250,000 for up to four years or for Seed grants for a maximum of £60,000 for two years.
Health Information programmes
WCRF UK’s Great Grub Club website and magazine are aimed at four to seven-year-olds. According to its website, its aim is to encourage healthy eating and an active lifestyle in a fun and informative way.
WCRF UK produces publications that aim to translate scientific research into language that is easy to understand, providing information about the links between lifestyle and cancer and advice on how to make healthy changes.
A newsletter for supporters is published four times a year that includes information about scientific findings and gives practical advice about making healthy lifestyle changes.
WCRF UK provides information for health professionals to help them educate their patients. This includes publishing Informed, a newsletter aimed at health professionals. There is also a specific section for health professionals on the WCRF UK website.
Most of WCRF UK’s income is from the general public. It raises money in a range of ways from single donations, regular donations, running events and gifts left in wills.
Every year in May, WCRF UK holds Fruity Friday, which is a fundraising and education campaign. As part of this, companies and schools hold “dress down Fridays” and put on fundraising events and competitions.
- World Cancer Research Fund
- Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective
- American Institute for Cancer Research
- WCRF UK website: About Us
- WCRF UK website: Our History
- WCRF International website
- website for Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective; 
- BBC article on the report
- The Economist: How to Prevent Cancers
- Daily Mail: Ignore these scaremongers
- The Independent: Cancer and the bacon sarnie
- Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention
- BBC article about Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention
- WCRF website
- Diet and Cancer Report website: Continuous Review
- Great Grub Club website; [www.greatgrubclub.com]
- WCRF UK website: publications section
- Informed page of WCRF UK website
- WCRF UK website health professionals section
- WCRF UK website: How we spend your money
- Fruity Friday website; [www.fruityfriday.org]
- Beat the Banana! website; [www.beatthebanana.org]