It’s incredible that there is so much information online about cancer – available with a few simple keystrokes – but how much do you really know?
There are so many forms of cancer, every patient case is unique, and you will never know everything (though that would be fantastic). It can be overwhelming.
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?
Some of these cancer facts are common sense but you’ve probably heard the saying, “Common sense…is not so common.” Even when you know, mentally and physically, that specific lifestyle choices increase your cancer risk…you might not act until it’s too late.
17 Cancer Facts You Need to Know Right Now
Researchers worldwide agree that at least half of all cancers and cancer-related deaths are preventable. In 2015, an estimated 1.6 million deaths will be attributed to cancer – saving half with prevention 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 is actually the result of abnormal cells that multiply and spread out of control to various points in your body, damaging healthy cells along the way. Most types of cancer result in tumors but cancers that affect the blood do not.
Only a very small percentage of cancers (less than 5%) have a genetic link, so when the “experts” tell us that most cancers are genetic, they are not being truthful. However, despite the fact that research indicates that we likely did not inherit some mysterious “cancer gene” from our parents, most of us did inherit our “mamma’s cookbook” and were likely exposed to the same toxins as our immediate family, so cleaning up our diet, exercising, and detoxification are all extremely important.
Speaking of toxins, 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 household cleaning products can damage the cells in your body and increase your risk of cancer. Your home and workplace are the two places you spend the majority of your time. Ensuring your personal safety must be a top priority.
More than 90% of all lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. Interestingly, it’s not actually tobacco itself that causes the cancer – it’s the chemicals that are used in the process of making the tobacco product that cause cancer. Quitting is the number one preventative measure you can take right now to decrease your cancer risk. Even non-smokers are at risk from secondhand smoke. A person dies from lung cancer every thirty seconds somewhere in the world and it is the leading cancer killer of men and women in the United States.
Sleep deprivation – defined as less than six hours per day – increases your risk of colon cancer. Recent studies also showed a higher risk of cancer among those who work night shift schedules. The benefit of healing sleep is one of the most underestimated ways to keep your body strong and cancer-free.
Every day, more than forty children are diagnosed with cancer – more than 14,000 per year in the United States alone. Cancer (or more accurately the conventional “treatments” for cancer) is the #1 killer of children as a result of disease. Today, cancer (and cancer treatments) will claim the lives of four 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) actually cause cancer and very little emphasis is placed on finding the cause of the disease rather than merely treating symptoms (tumors) by shrinking them with carcinogenic chemicals like chemotherapy.
Popular cold cuts, sausage, and hot dogs contain nitrates – you’ll see them on the label as sodium nitrate and potassium nitrite. Nitrates are chemical additives used in processed meats in order 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 – a known carcinogen. Nitrates also filter into groundwater from the use of fertilizer so consider using a filter for drinking water.
Globally, approximately one in every eight deaths is caused by cancer. In fact, cancer causes more deaths than malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS combined. Developed countries have higher incidences of cancer. Experts believe it is a combination of diet and lifestyle that affects our overall health.
The most common cancer diagnosed in women cancer of the breast. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women. Breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer are the most common diseases for which women are diagnosed.
Lung, prostate, and stomach cancer are the most common diseases for which men are diagnosed. Survival rates for lung cancer are less than 20%. If you smoke and have a job where you inhale toxins, your chance of survival drops to just over 3%.
People aged fifty-five or older have the highest cancer risk. Approximately 77% of all cancers diagnosed are found in men and women of this age group.
Research has revealed that obesity increases your risk of cancer. It can also affect your chances of survival should you be diagnosed with cancer. In one study of post-menopausal women with breast cancer, the survival rates were higher in women who maintained a healthy body weight.
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.
Skin cancer is the cancer diagnosed most often. The number of detected skin cancer cases increases steadily every year. The popular myth is that exposure to the sun causes skin cancer, but this is not completely accurate. Sun exposure is actually good for you and increases your body’s production of vitamin D (via the interaction of ultraviolet light with cholesterol in your skin). Thirty minutes of early morning or late afternoon sun on your hands and face is enough to get your recommended dose of vitamin D. But you don’t want to burn, as this might cause DNA damage and eventually cancer, so be careful. But do not use sunscreen, as it filters out helpful ultraviolet light and also causes cancer. The main chemical used in sunscreens to filter out ultraviolet light is octyl methoxycinnamate (“OMC”) which has been shown to kill mouse cells even at low doses. Plus, it was also shown to be particularly toxic when exposed to sunshine. OMC is present in 90% of sunscreen brands! The most popular brands of sunscreens also contain other toxic chemicals (such as dioxybenzone and oxybenzone) that are absorbed through the skin where they enter the bloodstream, generate free radicals, wreak havoc on the immune system, damage the liver and the heart, and even promote systemic cancer.
Healthy cells have a built-in ability to self-destruct. The scientific name for this process is called apoptosis but health writers refer to it as “cell suicide.” 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 that can naturally trigger damaged cells to self-destruct via apoptosis. Green tea, berries, turmeric, avocados, garlic, kale, and even dark chocolate are just a few of the foods that target and destroy cancer cells. Stay tuned for more on this fascinating process of preventing and fighting cancer from the inside out.