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Cancer – Reduce Your Risk

February 27, 2009 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

We’re all aware of the basic guidelines for staying healthy – don’t smoke or drink excessively, eat nutritious food, exercise regularly and keep your weight under control. That’s the standard medical advice that most doctors will give you. But the reality is that deep down we often wonder whether following those rules will really protect us from the myriad of deadly diseases that we see all around us. This doubt is further strengthened when we see instances of so-called “healthy people” dying from conditions like cancer or heart attacks.

Fortunately, the use of scientific research and the gathering of statistics can help provide a solid foundation for our belief in the merits of a healthy lifestyle. That’s the focus of today’s blog.

Cancer Statistics

The Numbers Don’t Lie

A new report out of Britain and the US offers firm evidence that diet and lifestyle can help protect us against the most common forms of cancer. The research was conducted by two organizations: the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund.

The following figures highlight the estimated percentage of cancers that can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle:

  • Bowel cancer could be reduced by up to 45% in the US.
  • Breast cancer could see a 42% drop in Britain.
  • Lung cancer might decline by nearly 40% in China
  • Brazil would likely see a 67% reduction in mouth and larynx cancer.
  • When taking into account 12 of the most common cancers, the US could expect to see an average drop in cancer of 34%. Britain is given a risk reduction estimate of 39%. Brazil and China are listed at 30% and 27% respectively.

The figures above were determined by analyzing the findings of thousands of studies and by requesting the input of hundreds of researchers and specialists in the field of cancer research. Nationwide surveys relating to diet, exercise and obesity were also employed. But these figures are still only estimates, despite the meticulous effort made. It’s also important to note that this research does not reflect the influence of cigarette smoking on cancer risk.

You may be wondering why the US, Britain, Brazil and China were singled out for this research project. There are a few reasons for this: 1) All four countries make it a practice to maintain records about diet, exercise and obesity rates. 2) It is theorized that the British and US figures may broadly apply to other higher income countries. Brazil and China were thought to provide a general example of what might be found in other lower income parts of the world.

Professor Martin Wiseman, the project director of the report, summarized the research as such: “We are expecting a substantial increase in cancer rates with the aging population, obesity rates soaring, and with people becoming less active and increasingly consuming highly processed and energy dense foods and drinks. The good news is that this is not inevitable and we still have the chance to avert a crisis before it is too late.”

Cancer prevention is a very complex topic. But it’s clear that eating healthy food (and avoiding “junk” food), exercising, not smoking and maintaining an appropriate weight shifts the statistics in your favor.

Vitamin D and Cancer

There are many other strategies that you can utilize to further support your body in staying cancer free. Although, I can’t list every option, here are a few simple and natural practices that look awfully promising:

  1. Get plenty of healthy sun exposure (during “non-peak hours”). I try to spend some time outside in the sun on a regular basis. Why? Because modern research is showing a trend that indicates that vitamin D may be a potent aid in the battle against cancer.
  2. Sleep well. When we sleep the brain produces a substance called melatonin. In addition to playing a key role in the sleep process, melatonin may also relay some cancer fighting benefits.
  3. Manage stress. Excess stress not only damages the quality of our lives, but also impacts our physical bodies. Some research indicates that higher stress hormone levels may put us at greater risk for cancer.

Please take what you’ve learned here today to heart. According to experts from around the world, the information I’ve presented is the foundation for avoiding cancer. No one can honestly promise that you’ll live a cancer-free life. There are no such guarantees. But this is the best information we have at this time. As more knowledge becomes available, I’ll do my best to keep you informed.

Be well!

JP

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2 Comments & Updates to “Cancer – Reduce Your Risk”

  1. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    Recent studies have suggested that the optimal vitamin D blood concentration for most adults is at least 75 nmol/l and that elderly people might need at least 100 nmol/l (see Vitamin D: What’s Enough?). In the NHANES analysis, fewer than 40 percent of people had D blood concentrations of at least 75 nmol/l.
    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/6916/title/Food_for_Thought__Breathing_Easier_with_Vitamin_D

    Because humans evolved at equatorial latitudes, without modern clothing and shelter, their vitamin D supply would have been equivalent to at least 100 μg day-1 (4000 units day-1). Thus, the human genome was selected for under conditions where the circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration was greater than 100 nmol l-1. This contrasts with modern humans in whom serum 25(OH)D is typically half that. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/cjne/2001/00000011/00000004/art00006?crawler=true

  2. JP Says:

    Thanks for the interesting links, Iggy.

    Be well!

    JP

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