Prevention and early detection of cancer

Even if cancer mortality rates are slowly decreasing, cancer incidence continues to rise. In Sweden, it is estimated that 30 % of the cancer cases could be prevented.

Exposure to modifiable risk factors, access to screening and vaccination services are all factors impacting the cancer incidence. Cancer prevention can be improved by raising awareness and addressing the risk factors, such as tobacco and alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity, obesity, an unhealthy diet, extensive sun exposure and exposure to pollution.

12 evidence-based recommendations

The European Code Against Cancer (ECAC) is an initiative by the European Commission, developed by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The ECAC aims to inform citizens on risk-reducing actions they can take for themselves and their families. The ECAC includes 12 evidence-based recommendations, available in the 23 EU languages.

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

National action plan

RCC have been assigned (in collaboration with other stakeholders) by the Swedish Government, to take stronger actions towards cancer prevention. A group of experts, initiated by RCC, have developed a national action plan for cancer prevention (länk?). This plan includes numerous actions, including; raising awareness of the ECAC and alcohol as a risk factor for cancer, increasing attendance in cancer screening and supporting the campaign ‘Tobacco Endgame’. RCC is also an  partner of PrEvCan, Cancer Prevention across Europe.

National action plan for cancer prevention (pdf, Swedish only)

Tobacco Endgame (Swedish only)

PrEvCan, The European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS),

RCC support various intervention for early detection of cancer in primary care. Among these are early detection of skin cancer, using teledermatoscopy.

In addition, RCC provide various online education programs, for instance on cancer and lifestyle issues and cancer prevention for school nurses.

Cancer inequalities

Inequalities in both cancer survival and other outcomes have been reported frequently during the last decades. It is well documented that cancer risk factors are impacted by socio-economic factors. These socio-economic inequities impact a person’s exposure to risk factors, access to screening and other preventive services, but also to diagnostics, treatment and even palliative care.  Low cancer prevention literacy may impact the individual capacity to manage cancer risks and adversely impact both behaviours and outcomes.

RCC is striving to reduce all aspects on cancer inequalities. Some examples of actions to reduce cancer inequalities are the implementation of national guidelines for most cancer types, screening programmes and standardised cancer patient pathways, quality registries, as well as various benchmarking activities.

RCC also initiated and support the introduction on Peer Advisors - volunteers from multi-cultural communities who inform and advice their peers on cancer prevention.


Vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) could reduce the risk for some types of cancer. HPV infection is a risk factor for cervical cancer as well as some other cancer types.

Vaccination against HPV is included in the national school vaccination program in Sweden for both girls (since 2010) and boys (since 2020). RCC is supporting HPV vaccination initiatives, such as a national research initiative including catch-up HPV vaccination for young women.

The eradication project