Half Of Cancer Is Preventable



Do You Know Someone With Cancer?
New Research Reveals Half Of All Cancer Preventable

Almost everyone recognizes that cigarettes and other known carcinogens cause cancer in many people. However, until recently, very little research has been done on the most “common sense” of common causes — nutrition and exercise.

This new study confirms a long-held belief of mine — that cancer and fat metabolism are directly related. We know antioxidants are crucial to preventing cancer, but what most people do not realize is that a disrupted fatty acid metabolism can increase free radical damage.

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The American Cancer Society Report: Half of Cancer Deaths Preventable


Cutting out tobacco, making use of cancer screening tests, reducing levels of obesity and overweight, and improving nutrition and physical activity could go a long way to lowering the number of cancer deaths in the United States, the report says.

“This year, for the first time, there was a drop in the reported number of actual cancer deaths in the US,” said Carolyn Runowicz, MD, national volunteer president of the American Cancer Society. “Although we are winning the ‘war on cancer,’ there is a remarkable opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of lives and to reduce suffering from this disease with lifestyle changes and an increased use of proven screening strategies.”

Smoking Declining
Tobacco use alone is expected to cause more than 170,000 cancer deaths in the US in 2006, according to the new report. People who use tobacco have a higher risk of cancers of the lung, mouth, nasal cavities, larynx (voice box), throat, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix. It also raises the risk of myeloid leukemia. Even people who don’t smoke have a higher risk of lung cancer if they are exposed to secondhand smoke.

The US has made progress against tobacco, the report shows. Smoking is declining, and the number of cigarettes smoked per person is lower now than it has been since the start of World War II. Still, more than 23% of men and more than 18% of women were smokers in 2004. About 22% of teenagers reported being smokers in 2003.

To push those rates down, the report calls for higher tobacco taxes, more clean-air laws that restrict smoking in public places, better access to smoking cessation tools like counseling hotlines and medication, and more advertising to discourage tobacco use.

Americans Getting Heavier
Other lifestyle changes could also have a dramatic impact on cancer deaths. The ACS report estimates that about one-third (188,277) of those deaths in 2006 will be due to poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and excess weight. (Editor’s emphasis)

Physical activity is known to reduce the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer, while eating lots of fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, lung,stomach, colon, and rectum, the report says. American Cancer Society guidelines for nutrition and physical activity call for adults to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, 5 or more days per week, and eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

Getting regular exercise and eating right can help maintain a health body weight. An American Cancer Society study released in 2003 showed that being overweight or obese raises the risk of dying from numerous different cancers.

Unfortunately, Americans are getting heavier. More than half of US adults were overweight or obese in 2004, and the number of overweight or obese kids has tripled in the past 30 years. Many factors have contributed to these trends, the report says. Among them: cheap, readily available junk food; more spread-out communities that are not conducive to walking; and cuts in school physical education classes and recess.

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Now, let’s just consider those facts for a moment: over one-third of cancer deaths are directly related to poor nutrition and exercise habits. One-third! That’s astounding, and something that oncologists would have strongly disagreed with as little as five or ten years ago.

While I personally do not like to use fear as a long-term motive to start living the Fit Over 40 lifestyle, when it comes to cancer, I say, “Whatever works.” Just get to it today.

Jon Benson
Creator/Co-Author of Fit Over 40: Role Models For Excellence At Any Age

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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