[Editor’s note] This post was originally published in December 2014. It has been updated and republished in June 2019.
Cancer is one of the most well-known topics on the planet, yet there is so much that can reduce your personal risk of developing cancer that you might not know.
Cancer is the #2 killer in developed countries and #1 in underdeveloped countries.
Right now, due to poor lifestyle habits, poor diet, lack of information, the medical community’s refusal to embrace holistic therapies, and the exorbitant cost of conventional cancer treatment… 35% of those who develop cancer do not survive the disease.
Get the Cancer Facts
Know what you can do right now to lower your risk and prevent cancer from stealing your life or the life of someone you love. Know what you can do to fight this disease and win.
What you need is working knowledge about cancer. Who is most at risk? What factors increase cancer risk in the population at large? What can you do to get or stay cancer-free?
Even when you know, mentally and physically, that specific lifestyle choices raise or lower your cancer risk… you might not act until it’s too late. The time to act is now!
17 Cancer Facts You Need to Know Right Now
Scientific experts worldwide agree that at least half of all cancers and cancer-related deaths are preventable. In 2012, two million deaths globally were attributed to cancer according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Preventing half of those deaths is an excellent place to start.
Cancer is the single name assigned to more than 100 diseases. Though cancer was once referred to as a “wasting disease,” it’s actually the result of abnormal cells that multiply and spread out of control, damaging healthy cells along the way. Most cancers result in tumors but those that affect the blood do not. Cancer can occur in any part of your body.
Only a very small percentage of cancers (between 5-10%) have a genetic link. When the “experts” tell you most cancers are genetic, they’re not being truthful. However, despite the statement that research confirms most patients didn’t inherit some mysterious “cancer curse” from their parents, immediate families tend to have the same habits, eat the same foods, and are exposed to the same toxins. That’s a cancer fact that makes sense. Cleaning up your diet, exercising, and detoxification are extremely important for every member of your family
Environmental factors can increase your risk of cancer. The air you breathe, the water you drink, and the food you eat are all important. Pollution, heavy metal toxicity, and even personal care and household cleaning products can damage the cells in your body. Your home and workplace are the two places you spend the majority of your time. Evaluating (and then reducing) the possible toxins you’re exposed to on a daily basis is a strong step to cancer prevention.
More than 90% of all lung cancer cases are caused by smoking and 22% of all cancer deaths are due to lung cancer resulting from smoking. Tobacco product use is the most preventable cause of cancer worldwide. Survival rates for lung cancer are less than 20% and if you’re a smoker who’s exposed to inhaled toxins where you work, your chance of survival drops to just over 3%. It’s the carcinogenic chemicals used in the process of manufacturing tobacco products that cause cancer – not the tobacco itself. A single cigarette contains 69 known cancer-causing carcinogens and over 4,000 chemicals. Someone dies from lung cancer every 30 seconds around the world… about the time it took you to read this paragraph.
This is a cancer fact that many don’t see coming. Sleep deprivation – defined as getting less than six hours of sleep per day – increases your risk of colon cancer. Recent studies also showed a higher risk of cancer among those who work night shift schedules. It makes sense. The benefit of healing sleep is one of the most underestimated ways to keep your body strong and cancer-free.
Every day, more than 40 children are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. alone – with 175,000 thousand children being diagnosed worldwide each year. Cancer is the #1 disease killer of children. Today, cancer (and cancer treatments) will claim the lives of four American children – more than complications from congenital birth defects, type 1 diabetes, and asthma combined. The survival rates among children with cancer are not improving because the conventional treatments (chemo and radiation) make things worse and there’s very little emphasis on finding the cause rather than merely treating symptoms.
Popular cold cuts, sausage, hot dogs, and bacon contain nitrates. They’re listed on the label as sodium nitrate and potassium nitrite. Nitrates are chemical additives used in processed meats to preserve them and add flavor. Preparation with high heat and ingestion causes a chemical reaction with the digestive fluids in your body, converting nitrates to nitrites, which is a known carcinogen. Nitrates also filter into groundwater from the use of fertilizer – so be sure to filter your drinking water.
Globally, one in every eight deaths is caused by cancer. A painful cancer fact is that this disease causes more deaths than malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS combined. Approximately 70% of cancer deaths occur to those of low and middle incomes. In the United States, cancer is listed as the cause in close to 1/4 of all deaths and is the leading cause of death in people aged 45-64 according to the CDC. Currently, there are about 33 million cancer survivors around the world (within 5 years of diagnosis).
Breast, colorectal, lung & bronchus, cervical, and stomach cancer are the most common types worldwide for which women are diagnosed (new cases) according to statistics gathered by WHO. In the U.S., breast cancer alone accounts for close to 1/3 of new cancer cases. Early detection increases breast cancer survival rates substantially.
Lung & bronchus, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver are the most common types worldwide for which men are diagnosed (new cases), according to statistics gathered by WHO. In the U.S., prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. Discover the signs of prostate cancer here.
In economically developed countries, 58% of cancer diagnoses are in people 65 years of age or older. In developing countries, people over 65 account for 40% of new cancer cases.
Research has confirmed that obesity increases your risk of cancer as well as every other major disease or condition. It can also affect your chances of survival should you be diagnosed. In one study of post-menopausal women with breast cancer, the survival rates were higher in women who maintained a healthy body weight. Prediabetes increases your risk of cancer by 15% in addition to the risk from obesity. In the United States, two-thirds of the population is considered overweight or obese. It is estimated that half of all American adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes and many might not realize they have it.
You may experience no symptoms of ovarian cancer, lung cancer, or colon cancer until the cancer cells spread to other areas of your body. Early screening is imperative to catching these cancers in time.
Non-melanoma skin cancers are not tracked in cancer registries, but skin cancer is the most common cancer. Every year, skin cancer cases increase steadily. Mainstream science (and the sunscreen industry) blames exposure to the sun, but this is not accurate. Smart sun exposure increases your body’s production of vitamin D (via the interaction of UV light with cholesterol in your skin). Just 30 minutes of early morning or late afternoon unprotected time with sun on your hands and face may be enough for your body to produce this critical vitamin. However you must avoid burning! Sunscreen blocks the rays that help in vitamin D production and contains chemicals such as octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) which kills lab mice cells at low doses, increases in toxicity when exposed to sunlight, and is present in 90% of sunscreen brands! Since sunscreen is applied directly to the skin, it immediately enters your bloodstream to wreak havoc on your body at the cellular level.
Healthy cells have a built-in directive to commit “cell suicide” called apoptosis. This is the process by which the cell recognizes that damage is present and destroys itself to protect the rest of the body. In cancer cells, this automatic process is absent but scientists don’t know why. Cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and heart disease have all been linked to a breakdown in apoptosis. There are foods proven to force this process to engage in cancer cells, destroying them naturally and safely.
What you eat matters. The most common cancer-causing foods are refined sugar and flour, soda, microwave popcorn, food in cans produced with BPA, grilled or processed meat, and hydrogenated oils. The choices you make every day can raise or lower your personal cancer risk. As mentioned in #16, there are specific foods that trigger damaged cells (such as those that lead to cancer) to self-destruct via apoptosis. Green tea, berries, turmeric, avocados, garlic, kale, and even dark chocolate are just a few that target and destroy cancer cells. You can prevent and fight cancer from the inside out!
The most important cancer fact you need to know is that…
Good Choices = Good Health
Sometimes making the right choices for your body is hard. It can be easy to get into a rut of eating comfort foods, not exercising, and smoking. Good health and staying cancer free takes some discipline. What you eat, drink, and do with your body directly impacts your risk.
A healthy diet, plenty of water, adequate rest, regular exercise, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, and (in general) treating your body as well as you’d like your body to treat you are the front line defense against all disease – especially cancer.
Now, it’s possible that you do everything right and still get sick. That’s a harsh truth, but every expert will confirm that you dramatically reduce your risk of cancer and other disease by simply… loving yourself. Your body is the only home you have to live in so treat it well. Never stop learning about ways to prevent, fight, and conquer cancer.