Working Procedures


2. Objective and scope

The objective of the IARC Handbooks programme is the preparation of critical reviews and evaluations of the evidence that a particular intervention can prevent cancer. The evaluations, which are prepared by a Working Group of international experts, are scientific judgements about the available evidence on efficacy, effectiveness, and safety of a wide range of cancer-preventive interventions. No recommendation is given with regard to national or international regulations or legislation, which are the responsibility of individual governments and/or other international authorities. The IARC Handbooks may assist national and international authorities in devising programmes of health promotion and cancer prevention, and in making benefit-risk assessments.

In this document, the term “intervention” refers to any chemical, activity, or strategy that is subject to evaluation in a Handbook. Cancer-preventive interventions encompass pharmacological, immunological, dietary, and behavioural interventions that may delay, block, or reverse carcinogenic processes, or reduce underlying risk factors.

Preventive interventions can be applied across a continuum of: (1) the general population; (2) subgroups with particular predisposing host or environmental risk factors, including genetic susceptibility to cancer; (3) persons with precancerous lesions; and (4) cancer patients at risk of developing second primary tumours. Use of the same interventions in the treatment of cancer patients to control the growth, metastasis, and recurrence of tumours is considered to be patient management and not prevention, although data from clinical trials of such interventions may be pertinent when reaching anevaluation.


Posted 5 July 2016