The Coming Cancer Explosion

CancerCancer may supplant heart disease as the number one cause of death worldwide in 2010. There is a growing cancer burden in poor countries as a result of increased cigarette smoking and other factors.

Globally, about 12.4 million people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year, and 7.6 million people will die. The global cancer burden doubled in the last 30 years of the 20th century, and it will likely double again between 2000 and 2020 and nearly triple by 2030.

By 2030, 26.4 million people a year may be diagnosed with cancer, with 17 million people dying from it. In men, lung cancer leads new cases and deaths, while among women, breast cancer leads new cases and deaths.

Although decades ago, cancer was considered largely a problem of Westernized, rich, industrialized countries, today much of the global burden now rests in poor and medium-income countries.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

In the U.S., cancer dethroned heart disease as the top killer among Americans under the age of 85 back in 2002.  Three years ago, a staggering 175 Americans PER HOUR were diagnosed with cancer, and the numbers have only gone up since then.  Now, it looks like the rest of the world is catching up.

It’s not hard to figure out the reasons.  For one thing, as the U.S. exports processed junk food, sugary soda, and poor eating habits to the rest of the world, more and more people will die of entirely preventable illnesses.  Over the last century, the U.S. gradually moved from a diet of fresh, natural food to the current unnatural system of factory farming, packaged products, and fast food.

Another factor that has only recently begun to be appreciated, however, is the importance of vitamin D. We now know that well in excess of half of the cancers would simply disappear if vitamin D levels were optimized. 

From 7.6 Million to Zero

Of those 7.6 million people who will die of cancer this year, it has been estimated that up to 4 million could have been saved just through healthy eating, and especially avoiding sugar and starch.  Your diet should include fresh vegetables and a healthy dose of omega-3 fats.

So that would bring the number down to 3.6 million deaths each year.  Want to bring that down even further, to 3, 2 or even less than a million, in just one more step?  If vitamin D3 levels from sun exposure were increased among populations worldwide, Dr. Grant believes that well over two million cancers could be prevented, especially in regions far from the equator.

By now you probably realize that the dangers of sun exposure have been greatly exaggerated, and the benefits highly underestimated.  Not only is sun exposure not the major reason people develop skin cancer, but it will actually lower your risks of developing 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancers.

Those million remaining deaths could be prevented through just a few more easy steps.  More deaths could be prevented by moderating alcohol consumption -- excessive drinking can increase your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, breast, pancreas, and lungs. It is quite possible that a significant percentage of cancer is caused by alcohol intake.

Another good way to keep yourself from getting cancer is to make sure you regularly get a good night’s sleep.  And how about exercise?  Over 200 studies have linked physical activities to cancer risk.  There’s another big chunk of the 7.6 million deaths suddenly erased.

Smoking, of course, is another lifestyle factor that is causing cancer deaths.  However, if you are concerned about lung cancer, and you currently smoke, I actually think it’s actually more important that you get your diet right before you quit. Cigarettes speed up your metabolism, which causes you to burn calories more quickly. When you stop smoking, there are reflexes that slow down your metabolism, which will increase your ability to gain weight.

This tends to cause people to reward themselves with sweets and desserts because they have done a great thing by giving up something like smoking. Well, sugar is actually more damaging to your body than smoking, and is one of the reasons why many people who are successful in stopping smoking gain large amounts of weight -- clearly not something that is good for your health.

Sensible Steps to End Cancer

Does the steps outlined above sound impossible?  I don’t think they do.  Eat a healthy diet, exercise, get some sun, get a good night’s sleep each night.  Don’t drink too much, and stop smoking, but be sure you have your diet in order first.  A “cure for cancer” isn’t impossible -- it turns out, it’s mostly just common sense!

But right now, things are heading in exactly the wrong direction.  Instead of trending down from 7.6 million to zero, the number of deaths could increase to 17 million in just two decades.  Don’t let yourself be one of those millions of people.  Take responsibility for your own health.

Simple Things You Can Do NOW to Prevent Cancer

Here are all of the simple steps you can take to virtually eliminate your cancer risk:

1.      Normalize your vitamin D levels with safe amounts of sun exposure. This works primarily by optimizing your vitamin D level. Ideally, it would be best to monitor your vitamin D levels.

2.      Control your insulin levels: Make certain that you limit your intake of processed foods and sugars as much as possible.

3.      Get appropriate amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats.

4.      Get appropriate exercise. One of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down. Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks.

5.      Eat according to your nutritional type. The potent anti-cancer effects of this principle are very much underappreciated. When we treat cancer patients in our clinic this is one of the most powerful anti-cancer strategies we have.

6.      Have a tool to permanently erase the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. My particular favorite tool for this purpose, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique.

7.      Only 25 percent of people eat enough vegetables, so by all means eat as many vegetables as you are comfortable with. Ideally, they should be fresh and organic. However, please understand that, frequently, fresh conventionally grown vegetables are healthier than organic ones that are older and wilted in the grocery store. They are certainly better than no vegetables at all, so don't use that as an excuse. If you are a carb nutritional type you may need up to 300 percent more vegetables than a protein nutritional type.

8.      Make sure you are not in the two-thirds of the population who are overweight and maintain an ideal body weight.

9.      Get enough high-quality sleep.

10. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution.

11. Boil, poach or steam your foods, rather than frying or charbroiling them.