Cancer and related lifestyle diseases are on the increase across Asia and already account for over half thedisease-associated mortality in the vast majority of the included countries. An understanding of the epidemiologyis therefore of paramount importance. In addition, given the immensity of the problem, cooperation among allthe interested parties is of the essence. The present series of reviews were complied with the aim of promotingbetter comprehension and interaction, focusing on cancer prevalence and the underlying risk and preventivefactors in Asia. Data from Cancer Incidence in Five Continents and Globocan 2002, published by the InternationalAgency for Research on Cancer, as well as various other cancer registry sources, were thus married with researchinformation in the public domain, accessible through PubMed. It is hoped that the comprehensive approachadopted for the different regions will help bring together all of the Asian community of individuals involved incancer epidemiology and control and contribute to establishment of Asian networks for collaborative research.The major players and the overall picture for cancer control are covered in the present overview. Furtherdetails are then provided in seven separate regional reviews: for North-Western and Central Asia; South-WestAsia; South Asia; Mainland South-East Asia; Peninsular and Island South-East Asia, the Pacific; and North-East Asia. The final section covers possible organ-based strategies for cancer control and, lastly, an Appendixhas been included listing research institutes and staff in Asia to facilitate contacts between interested individuals.