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.