Oct 31, 2013

When Cancer is Not by Happenstance

Smoking and obesity cause 66% of all cancer in this country.  In other words, two thirds of cases are triggered by lifestyle choice.



Last weekend, local oncologist, medical director and chief of staff Richard Deming spoke at the Des Moines Marathon expo.  Dr. Deming founded the Above+Beyond cancer survivor advocacy group.  He encourages survivors to fully live life through adventure, tackling Kilimanjaro, marathons and Everest.  

Dr. Deming dropped some difficult numbers, he said:  "If people stopped smoking, and if everyone ate right and exercised, two thirds of all cancer in this country would go away."

Whoa, I didn't know that.  

Here's a 60 pager data dump by Cancer.org if you want the grit.  Check page 45 to see what physical inactivity and poor nutrition does to your insides.

Everyone knows sucking a Marlboro is terrible on your breathing sacks.  But it was news to me that obesity is as likely to cause C. as a cigarette.  580,000 people pass yearly from cancer.  Doctors researching cause and effect believe that number would drop to 191,000 if folks made better choices.  

All cancer is a malfunction of genes that results in uncontrolled division and growth of cells.  White coats believe only 5% of cancers are strongly hereditary, meaning there's a high chance of passing the malfunctioning genes to offspring.  The majority of cancer is not based on hereditary triggers, but gene damage resulting from internal (such as hormone imbalance) or external factors like smoking, radiation overload or wolfing too many quarter pounders.

Stats show muffin-top is much more likely a cause than chemical exposure.  Consistent slathering of sunscreen would reduce a significant portion of the skin cancer cases diagnosed yearly. 

We'll all flatline at some point, most likely from heart disease (#1 cause) or cancer (#2).  I'll do everything in my power to help ensure I meet my Maker by happenstance and not by making poor choices.  It's pretty simple, four things:

    Do eat the right foods
    Do exercise aggressively
    Don't be overweight
    Don't do tobacco

Sorry for the downer post, but I'm more than a little disturbed so much cancer is preventable, yet many don't seem to care. 

The good news is most cancer is easily preventable.  

Help spread the word.

-Beard

18 comments:

  1. You forgot to add to your list, Do Be Happy

    Because being happy does wonders to not only hormonal balance but from there on to digestion and immune system and... heck, to most everything, really.

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    1. Agree, and will add that healthy eats and hard workouts makes it easier for me to feel happy. Get that nice afterglow when I do a long run, followed by a yummy bowl of veg' pho.

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  2. I don't think people don't care, I think most have the "it won't happen to me" attitude. As a former smoker I can tell you we know it's killing us slowly but the addiction and habit is hard to get over, there isn't a day that goes by that I want to sit down with my coffee or glass of wine and have a cigarette. I had Little a month shy of my 37th birthday and want to be around to watch him grow into an amazing human ... that's what keeps me from lighting up.

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    1. Awesome on kicking the habit, proud you are fighting the urge in order to make a healthier household for your family.

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  3. My husband is the healthiest person I know. Like a well oiled machine he runs, lifts weights, eats PERFECTLY and 3 years ago (age 32) he was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer. Long story short he has Lynch Syndrome or HNPCC. When our dna copies and makes a mistake our bodies get rid of that mistake, his doesn't, so over and over again this mistake adds up and well it comes the big C.

    The reason for all this is to add on to your staying healthy case with know your family history. Husband's grandpa died at 33 from the same thing so husband should have been being checked starting at 23, which we didn't know. He got lucky though, colon resection and now frequent check-ups for life.

    If someone in your immediate family had cancer at a young age you need to start getting screened 10 years younger than they were at diagnosis, it could save your life.

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    1. That sucks when people like your husband are doing all the right things and still get sick. Also when little kids get cancer, boo!

      I'm glad your hub was able to catch it somewhat in the early phase. Is he doing okay now?

      Didn't realize a family history means doctors recommend screenings 10 years early, thanks for the note and God bless!

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  4. This post just made this little old nurse so happy!

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    1. Come on now, you're not that old.

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  5. I've never heard that stat before! Fascinating!! Makes me feel better since I don't smoke and am not obese.

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  6. Anonymous11/01/2013

    Simple...but not easy, at least for some of us.

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    1. Agree, addiction ain't easy to beat.

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  7. Anonymous11/01/2013

    its amazing to me that people still smoke :(

    one more important fact. being healthy will help insure your survival if you do get struck down by the big C. conventional treatments for cancer are very hard on the body. best to be strong, fit, and feeling good before you walk down that nasty path. if you are sick and fat and smoking, treatments gonna suck.

    if you really want to get depressed, check out the statistics on those who die from treatment, not the actual cancer.

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    1. No kidding, daughter and I saw a mom smoking in her car today with a young kid in the backseat. All I could do was a facepalm and mouth "dumb."

      Very true about being fit making treatment and recovery go much smoother. I'll take note of that and mention it in an upcoming post around restraining what goes down the pie hole.

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  8. Anonymous11/02/2013

    Reading this wonderful post with impeccable timing. I am currently sitting in my husband's room in the oncology wing at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He is receiving salvage chemotherapy for lymphoma -- diagnosed in April of this year at stage 4. First treatment didn't work. Cancer came back stronger than before. 50/50 chance this one will work. He has always been the healthy one -- always. Eats healthy, works out, doesn't smoke, doesn't drink. Did everything right -- yet this awful cancer is doing its best to take him down. He's fighting it hard. And I am the one who always needs to lose 20 pounds, I drink diet coke, eat horribly and have 2-3 cigarettes a day, always telling myself just a few isn't like a pack a day. My exercise is walking to my car. I've read all this kind of stuff before. But it really becomes a REALITY while I sit here and watch him go through all of this. I opened up my laptop for the first time in days to catch up on blogs I follow, and saw your post first. I scrolled right down to page 45 of that document and am going to read the rest tonight. I think God just sent me a sign. Thank you.

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    1. Sorry your family is going through cancer, terrible to deal with. I'll pray for your husband tonight, hang in there!

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  9. I'm in the fit and has never smoked group - thank goodness. But I'm also in the group that grew up near the coast and have already had skin cancer at 33 years old. Although I will say having skin cancer gives me street cred with the kids. If they give me any crap about applying sunblock they know they'll get a big dramatic speech about cancer and the surgery and pain. I'm pretty hard to argue with about sun protection. The sad thing about skin cancer is most can be traced to childhood burns, so the burden is on the parents. A person could make super healthy choices as an adult, but still be vulnerable to skin cancer because a caregiver didn't take sun protection seriously when they were a kid. NOT MY KIDS! Three cheers to healthy living!

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    1. I read something along the lines that sun exposure and damage for kids before age 10 determines the likelihood they'll get skin cancer later in life. You are exactly right, sunscreen is important for all, but double so for kids. My brother got 2nd degree sunburn on a vacation when he was little. I cringe knowing what I do now and how that could later affect him.

      The spray screen is so much better than that greasy goop we smeared on growing up.

      Cheers!

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  10. Anonymous11/21/2013

    Love the article as well as all the comments! I watched my father battle stage 4 cancer, which ironically was from smoking however he had quit 25 years prior. That fact is similar to the skin care issue in that there are repercussions down the road for our prior life styles. As the other comment mentioned, the chemo and oncology is so brutal the treatment nearly took my fathers life so it's a battle for life either way. Lastly, to the wife of the current cancer patient, I saw you me toon the Diet Coke. I won't bore you with the details but I was a healthy 36 yr old mother of 3 who in April of this year decided to switch to Diet Coke and Coke Zero and landed myself in Mayo Clinic for 4 days with stroke like symptoms. Mayo had minimal diagnosis but my family and I are convenced it was Aspertame poisoning. Ironically my husband has been telling people for years to stay away from it, won't allow our children to have it and I didn't listen and here I sit. http://rhondagessner.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/a-killer-in-your-fridge-sweet-poison-a-must-read/

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Thanks for the note, check back for my response!