Cancer prevention strategies: use of cancer prevention research registries.
We present a model to plan a rational strategy for cancer prevention that has two main functions--assessment and intervention. The assessment function includes three main components: to identify populations at high cancer risk, which may be due to their ethnic group, occupational and environmental exposures, family history, cigarette smoking, or other risk factors; to assess exposure to known carcinogens through the general and occupational environments, lifestyle factors, and the home as well as to document known carcinogens using human tissue banks and develop and validate questionnaires to target known risk factors for each of the most common cancers; and to conduct research studies of high-risk populations, including studies on mechanism and genetic testing. The intervention function includes three components: development of population-based intervention programs using the results from the research studies; evaluation of intervention programs; and modification of existing intervention programs and implementation of new ones. The above-proposed prevention strategy depends to a great extent on population-based cancer registries. Existing cancer registries around the United States should be strengthened and other dimensions should be added to their charge to augment their function in prevention research. To convert existing population-based cancer registries, particularly those that serve multiethnic and multicultural populations, into Cancer Prevention Research Registries (CPRRs), three types of data in addition to their existing required data complement should be incorporated. These are exposure information including occupational history, host factors information, and information about family history of cancer and associated conditions. The primary goal of the CPRRs should be to support cancer prevention research in its widest sense. Future research needs must be designed to investigate each of the components of the prevention strategy as well as its integrated performance. Regardless of what we do in the future, we must now promote healthier lifestyles, prevent exposure to known carcinogens, and improve early detection procedures.