Twelve Changes That Will Cut Your Cancer Risk in Half

Over 570,000 people are expected to die from cancer in 2005, and according to a report, more than 60 percent of those deaths could have been prevented if Americans adopted healthier lifestyles. The American Cancer Society said that Americans could realistically cut their cancer death rate in half by:

Quitting smoking
Exercising more
Eating healthier food
Getting recommended cancer screenings

In 2005, over 1.3 million Americans will learn they have cancer, and of the expected 570, 280 cancer deaths it's estimated that more than 168,000 of those will be caused by tobacco use and one-third will be related to poor nutrition, physical inactivity, being overweight or obese or other lifestyle factors. That makes up 62 percent of all cancer deaths.

To show how an American could, in reality, reduce their death risk from cancer, one expert pointed out that quitting smoking would eliminate about 50 percent of cancer deaths, while maintaining a healthy body weight and exercising would eliminate another 10 percent.

Another fraction would be reduced by regular cancer screenings, as some cancers, such as breast, colon and prostate cancers, are easily treated if caught early on before they spread. According to researchers, if all women between the ages of 50 and 79 got mammograms every year, breast cancer deaths would go down by nearly 40 percent.

The easiest way to prevent cancer, according to the report, is to stop all use of tobacco. Education, excise taxes on cigarettes and clean air laws have all helped to get the nation's smoking rate down to below 25 percent, however, another major cancer risk, obesity, appears to be harder to slow down.

Experts say making healthy food more easily accessible and increasing physical activity is a step in the right direction to tackling obesity, along with getting schools to remove sodas and other junk foods from their vending machines.

Adult Cancer Risks

As adults, there's still much we can do to cut our cancer risk. Here's how we're doing:

More than one in four men and more than one in five women still smoke cigarettes.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight. That includes the 30 percent of us who are obese.

Not quite half of U.S. adults get enough exercise.

Only about one in four U.S. adults eats five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

American Cancer Society March 31, 2005 (60-page FREE PDF)

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Based on studies of human remains ranging from 5300 B.C. to the mid-19th century, we know that cancer used to be quite rare. Cancer is becoming a far more common problem in our culture. Earlier this year cancer passed heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States. We are now up to 175 people EVERY HOUR being diagnosed with cancer and another 65 that are actually dying from cancer.

Considering how important this issue is for nearly everyone you know, it might be a good one to forward to your friends and relatives. You can easily do this by using the E-mail to a friend button in the upper right hand section of this page, just under the search box. You can make a larger impact if you write them a personal message in the e-mail as to why they should seriously consider the advice--and why they may want to subscribe to the newsletter.

What innovative medicines, technologies and strategies are suggested by the Cancer Society to slow the spread of cancer by an amazing 62 percent? Doing nothing more than making some simple lifestyle changes.

Eat healthier foods (ideally based on your body's unique metabolic type).
Incorporate more exercise in your daily routine.
Stop smoking today.
Schedule periodic cancer screenings. The American Cancer Society is as traditional as medical organizations come. It is reassuring that even their conservative researchers now suggest a 62 percent reduction with simple lifestyle changes.

Like many of you out there I have had some challenges with my father, but one of the skills he drilled into me from early childhood was to never settle for second best. For the most part I haven't, and I would encourage you to follow that advice when it comes to cancer prevention. Why would you settle for a meager 62 percent reduction? I believe you can VIRTUALLY ELIMINATE your cancer risk if you follow risk reduction strategies that have not been formally "proven" yet by conservative researchers.

Why do you want to wait another 20 or 30 years for these to be proven and risk falling into the group of 175 Americans that are being diagnosed with cancer every hour? In 25 years another 15 million will die from cancer. I suggest you get with the program now and save you and your family a cancer diagnosis.

So what can you do to virtually eliminate your cancer risk?

The following are my major recommendations:

Control your insulin levels: Make certain that you limit your intake of processed foods and sugars as much as possible.

Get appropriate amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats and make sure you use cod liver oil if you don't have regular access to sun exposure.

Get appropriate exercise. One of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down. Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks.

Normalize your vitamin D levels with safe amounts of sun exposure. This works primarily by optimizing your vitamin D level. If you have regular access to sun exposure then you should use fish oil, not cod liver oil, as your primary source of omega-3 fats. Ideally, it would be best to monitor your vitamin D levels.

Eat according to your metabolic type. The potent anti-cancer effects of this principle are very much underappreciated. When we treat cancer patients in our clinic this is one of the most powerful anti-cancer strategies we have.

Have a tool to permanently erase the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. Energy psychology seems to be one of the best approaches and my particular favorite tool, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique.

Only 25 percent of people eat enough vegetables, so by all means eat as many vegetables as you are comfortable with. Ideally, they should be fresh and organic. However, please understand that, frequently, fresh conventionally grown vegetables are healthier than organic ones that are older and wilted in the grocery store. They are certainly better than no vegetables at all, so don't use that as an excuse. If you are a carb metabolic type you may need up to 300 percent more vegetables than a protein metabolic type.

Make sure you are not in the two-thirds of the population who are overweight and maintain an ideal body weight.

Get enough high-quality sleep.

Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution.

Boil, poach or steam your foods, rather than frying or charbroiling them.


Top or Page

Health Directory