Thursday, February 8, 2018

Half of cancer deaths may be preventable

Even small lifestyle changes can sharply cut your cancer risk, NY Times columnist claims

Dr. Aaron E. Carroll
Evidence, writes a medical columnist in The New York Times, "has increasingly accumulated that cancer may be preventable."

Especially if potential patients stop drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco, alter their diets, exercise and lose weight.

In a recent Aaron E. Carroll-bylined column under the rubric of The New Health Care received recently from The New York Times' online service, it's stated that "simple changes to people's behaviors have the potential to make sure many cancers never occur."

And they have "a side benefit of preventing health problems in many other areas, too," Dr. Carroll maintains.

The website headline indicates that "quite a bit is in your control" regarding the prevention of cancer, and the column, originally printed in 2016, cites a study published in Nature to the effect that "there is a lot we can do" to reduce our risk of cancer by changing our behavior.

That study contradicts research published in Science magazine in 2015 that many apparently took to mean that "cancer is much more because of 'bad luck' than because of other factors that people could control."

Carroll's piece contends that "many studies have shown that environmental risk factors and exposures contribute greatly to many cancers. Diet is related to colorectal cancer. Alcohol and tobacco are related to esophageal cancer. HPV is related to cervical cancer, and hepatitis C is related to liver cancer. And you'd have to be living under a rock not to know that smoking causes lung cancer and that too much sun can lead to skin cancer."

But, the professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine notes, "using sophisticated modeling techniques, the researchers argued that less than 30 percent of the lifetime risk of getting many common cancers was because of intrinsic risk factors, or the 'bad luck.' The rest were things you can change."

According to the study, "about 82 percent of women and 78 percent of men who got lung cancer might have prevented it through healthy behaviors. About 29 percent of women and 20 percent of meant might have prevented colon and rectal cancer. About 30 percent of both might have prevented pancreatic cancer."

Over all, it said, "about 25 percent of cancer in women and 33 percent in men was potentially preventable. Close to half of all cancer deaths might be prevented as well."

More information about how to cut down the risk of diseases can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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