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US Cancer Death Rates on the Decline, But Cancer Incidence is Still Rising. Here’s Why...

Cancer Prevention

Story at-a-glance -

  • Annual report on cancer in the US shows death rate for cancer has, overall, declined by 1.8 percent for men and 1.4 percent for women. Cancer incidence is still rising, however.
  • Pediatric cancer deaths are also declining at a pace of 1.8 percent per year, although incidence is still rising by about 0.5 percent annually.
  • The real reason why after 40+ years of waging “war against cancer,” we have gotten limited results is because the cancer industry is not spending any of its multi-billion dollar resources on effective prevention strategies, which include dietary intervention, exercise and weight control.
  • Death rates from certain cancers are still on the rise, including liver and pancreatic cancer, and among men, rates of melanoma, as well as “HPV-related” cancers, which has prompted many to urge for better HPV vaccine uptake.
  • According to recent research, the claim that HPV vaccination will result in approximately 70 percent reduction of cervical cancers is made despite the fact that the clinical trials data have not demonstrated to date that the vaccines have actually prevented a single case of cervical cancer (let alone cervical cancer death), nor that the current overly optimistic surrogate marker-based extrapolations are justified.
  • Merck’s own research also shows their HPV vaccine, Gardasil, can raise your risk of precancerous lesions by nearly 45 percent if you receive the vaccine after having already been exposed to certain HPV strains included in the vaccine.

By Dr. Mercola

A new report on US cancer rates1 received extensive coverage in print and online, as well as on two nightly national news broadcasts, where it was featured on many stations for more than five minutes.

Many of the reports, and the experts quoted therein, expressed a cautious optimism about the continued decline in cancer death rates.

However, many sources point to the increase in cancers linked to human papillomavirus (HPV), leading them to focus on the low uptake of the HPV vaccine,2, 3 while ignoring the real root of our still-rising cancer incidence rates, namely diet, exercise, and weight control.

Cancer Rates Inching Down, According to New Report

According to the featured report, which was compiled by the American Cancer Society and other government and cancer advocacy groups, progress has been made in the “war on cancer.” One of the reasons for the overall decline of cancer deaths was thought to be due to decreases in smoking among Americans.

However, it’s worth noting that these declining mortality rates are not due to decreases in incidence. More people are getting cancer, but they’re staying alive longer. And as Brenda Edwards, study author and senior adviser at the NCI told Bloomberg:4

"These trends show we haven't eliminated cancer, but we have managed to be able to diagnose it and treat it."

And therein lies the rub. Diagnosis and treatment are the money makers in this industry. Actual prevention is not. So when it comes to prevention, conventional medicine has stuck its head in the sand, and if you want to avoid being a statistic, good advice is virtually impossible to find in the average doctor’s office.

One of the most outrageous examples is that, women are increasingly being advised to remove their breasts to preempt breast cancer if they have a family history of it. This is beyond barbaric and irrational once you understand how epigenetics, and the influence that nutrition alone can have on genetic expression.

Overall, cancer deaths began dropping in the 1990’s, with death rates declining by 1.8 percent for men and 1.4 percent for women between the years 2000-2009, according to the featured report. Children’s death rates from cancer are also declining at a pace of 1.8 percent per year, although incidence is still rising by about 0.5 percent annually. Besides successful anti-smoking campaigns, the decline was found to be primarily related to reductions in deaths related to leading cancer types, such as:

  • Lung cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer, and
  • Colorectal cancer

Other cancers are also still on the rise though, including liver and pancreatic cancer, melanoma (among men), and HPV-related cancers. As reported by the Washington Times:5

“Oral and anal cancers caused by HPV, the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, are on the rise among both genders. HPV is better known for causing cervical cancer, and a protective vaccine is available. Government figures show just 32 percent of teen girls have received all three doses, fewer than in Canada, Britain and Australia. The vaccine was recommended for U.S. boys about a year ago.”

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Terrifying Goal: 80 Percent of Girls to Receive HPV Vaccine by 2020

According to the featured report, incidence of cervical cancer, tied to HPV, has fallen in white women while increasing in black women.6 Yet it wasn’t long since the HPV vaccine was boldly credited with having reduced incidence of HPV infection. As recently as March 28, 2012, reported:7

“The prevalence of infection with cancer-causing strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) declined among women during the period that coincided with the introduction of HPV vaccine, investigators reported here. The rates of infection with HPV 16 and HPV 18 have declined since July 2007, a year after the first vaccine was introduced, including a significant decrease in HPV 16 infection. Four other HPV subtypes, including the other two targeted by the quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil), also declined significantly.”

The fact that so many are still pushing the HPV vaccine against various cancers is to me a major mistake that needs to be rectified and reversed. It flies in the face of the scientific findings, and it doesn’t even make intuitive sense. According to the Los Angeles Times:8

The team also examined how many girls in the U.S. had received HPV immunizations — and found the numbers were low. A three-dose course of an HPV vaccine is recommended for all 11- or 12-year-old girls as well as for girls and young women ages 13 through 26 who haven’t received the immunization. But the researchers found that only 32% of adolescent girls 13 to 17 had received all three doses of the vaccine in 2010, with less than half having even received a single dose. The federal government has set a goal of 80% immunization among girls by 2020.”

An 80 percent immunization rate among girls within the next seven years... That’s a very ambitious goal, and I shudder to think about the potential ramifications should they succeed. Published in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design in September 2012,9 a systematic review of pre- and post-licensure trials of the HPV vaccine by a Canadian team shows that its effectiveness is not only overstated (through the use of selective reporting or "cherry picking" data) but also completely unproven.

It is truly mindboggling, and a true testament to the conflicts of interest manipulating public health guidelines, that the HPV vaccine has received such robust backing by health officials and legislators alike. The summary states it quite clearly:

"We carried out a systematic review of HPV vaccine pre- and post-licensure trials to assess the evidence of their effectiveness and safety. We find that HPV vaccine clinical trials design, and data interpretation of both efficacy and safety outcomes, were largely inadequate. Additionally, we note evidence of selective reporting of results from clinical trials (i.e., exclusion of vaccine efficacy figures related to study subgroups in which efficacy might be lower or even negative from peer-reviewed publications).

Given this, the widespread optimism regarding HPV vaccines long-term benefits appears to rest on a number of unproven assumptions (or such which are at odd with factual evidence) and significant misinterpretation of available data.

For example, the claim that HPV vaccination will result in approximately 70% reduction of cervical cancers is made despite the fact that the clinical trials data have not demonstrated to date that the vaccines have actually prevented a single case of cervical cancer (let alone cervical cancer death), nor that the current overly optimistic surrogate marker-based extrapolations are justified.

Likewise, the notion that HPV vaccines have an impressive safety profile is only supported by highly flawed design of safety trials and is contrary to accumulating evidence from vaccine safety surveillance databases and case reports which continue to link HPV vaccination to serious adverse outcomes (including death and permanent disabilities).

We thus conclude that further reduction of cervical cancers might be best achieved by optimizing cervical screening (which carries no such risks) and targeting other factors of the disease rather than by the reliance on vaccines with questionable efficacy and safety profiles." [Emphasis mine]

Might Upticks in HPV-Related Cancers Be Associated with the HPV Vaccine?

Research from Merck10 (the manufacturer of Gardasil) presented to the FDA prior to approval showed that if you have been exposed to HPV 16 or 18 prior to injection and take the vaccine, you increase your risk of precancerous lesions, or worse, by 44.6 percent.

Additionally, since Merck's research indicates Gardasil may also 'provide cross-protection' against other strains of HPV that are closely related to HPV 16 and 18 (two of the four strains included in the vaccine), this would mean prior exposure to these additional strains (which are not included in the vaccine itself) may pose an additional increased risk for cervical cancer when combined with vaccination.

There are worrisome clues that this may in fact be happening. Data pulled by VAERS research analyst Janny Stokvis11 shows a dramatic and recent increase in abnormal pap smears, cervical dysplasia, and cervical cancer following HPV vaccination. Bear in mind that cervical cancer typically does not strike until your late 40's.

According to 2005 -2009 data by the National Cancer Institute,12 the median age at diagnosis for cervical cancer in the US is 48.

Only 0.2 percent of those diagnosed with cervical cancer were under the age 20, so it's quite rare in this age group. An estimated 12,200 American women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.13 Because we're dealing with relatively low numbers to begin with, it makes the rapid increases detailed below all the more worrisome – especially when you consider that the vaccine is supposed to REDUCE cancer incidence.

The following data is for girls ages 14 to 26.14 According to Stokvis, some of the reports of cervical abnormalities are occurring four to five years after HPV vaccination, so we're just now starting to see some of the longer-term ramifications, since the vaccine has only been on the market for just over six years.

  March 2011 March 2012 Increase in 12 months (%)
Abnormal pap smear 384 479 24.74
Cervical dysplasia 138 190 37.68
Cervical cancer 41 50 21.95

Right to Informed Consent and Vaccine Exemptions Rapidly Vanishing

Virginia and Washington D.C. already require the HPV vaccine for girls to enroll in middle and high school, and the report suggests that such mandates could increase vaccination rates. This is a very dangerous trend. Young girls are now being prevented from an education lest they submit to an injection of a vaccine that has never been proven safe or effective. On the contrary, the vaccine has already been associated with deaths and, caused permanent disability and serious side effects in literally thousands of young girls, despite its short time on the market.

Think about this! Is this really a reasonable risk one should be forced to take to get an education? Similarly, well-trained veteran health care workers were in some states fired this past Christmas, simply for refusing to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu. It’s time to do some soul-searching on this issue, and if it worries you as much as it worries me, please get involved to protect vaccine exemptions and your right to informed consent.

Signing up for NVIC's free Advocacy Portal at gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard.

You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choices and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips. So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

The Factor Driving Cancer Rates that Most News Sources Neglected to Address

Few media sources were more honest about the real underlying sources of cancer, namely diet, exercise and obesity. NBC News15 did highlight this however, stating:

"...[The] report also says that policymakers are doing far too little to fight obesity, which underlies a third of cancer cases... 'The fact that people are not dying of cancer is clear evidence of progress,' said Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society.

But we could have a much lower death rate from cancer if we simply got serious about doing all the things that work. '...Over the next 10 years, a combination of high caloric intake and low physical activity is going to surpass tobacco as a cause of cancer deaths,' Brawley told NBC News. 'We are not saying anything about that. That is a huge, huge cancer prevention effort that we haven’t gotten off the ground.'"

Indeed, the real reason why we, after 40+ years of waging “war against cancer,” have gotten nowhere in terms of reducing the numbers of people developing cancer is because the cancer industry is not spending any of its multi-billion dollar resources on prevention. Detection yes, but not prevention, and in the meantime, it has grown into such a massive cash-cow that it is not going to want to shave off any of the profits it is making. Teaching people how to avoid cancer is financial suicide for the industry.

A 2008 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences16 demonstrated how nutrition alone can have a tremendous impact not just on prevention, but even on the treatment of cancer once you’ve been diagnosed.

The study involved men with prostate cancer who declined surgery, hormonal therapy, or radiation and instead participated in an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention while undergoing careful surveillance for tumor progression.

The men made changes in their diets, exercised moderately, used stress management techniques and also participated in a psychosocial support group, and these changes influenced the expression of hundreds of genes. Specifically:

  • Some of the changes positively impacted genes that help fight cancer
  • Other changes helped turn off genes that promote cancer development

Top 12 Tips to Prevent Cancer

The bottom line here is that there’s a lot you can do to lower your chances of getting cancer -- you and your family CAN take control of your health. Don’t wait for diagnosis, take the reins and be a proactive participant in your own health care, before you end up in need for disease management. I believe you can virtually eliminate your risk of cancer and chronic disease, and radically improve your chances of recovering from cancer if you currently have it, by following these relatively simple risk reduction strategies.

1. Reduce or eliminate your processed food, sugar/fructose and grain carbohydrate intake. This applies to whole unprocessed organic grains as well, as they tend to rapidly break down and drive your insulin and leptin levels up, which is the last thing you need to have happening if you are seeking to resolve or prevent cancer.

2. Consider reducing your protein levels to one gram per kilogram of lean body weight. It would be unusual for most adults to need more than 100 grams of protein and most likely close to half that. 

3. Control your fasting insulin and leptin levels. This is the end result you’ll get when you remove sugars and grains from your diet and start to exercise regularly. Your levels can be easily monitored with the use of simple and relatively inexpensive blood tests.

4. Normalize your ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats by taking a high-quality krill oil and reducing your intake of most processed vegetable oils.

5. Get regular 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.

The trick about exercise, though, is understanding how to use it as a precise tool. This ensures you are getting enough to achieve the benefit, not too much to cause injury, and the right variety to balance your entire physical structure and maintain strength and flexibility, and aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels. If you have limited time Peak Fitness exercises are your best bet but ideally you should have a good strength training program as well.

6. Normalize your vitamin D levels by getting appropriate sun exposure, and consider careful supplementation when this is not possible. However, if you’re taking oral vitamin D, you also need to make sure you’re taking vitamin K2 as well, as K2 deficiency is actually what produces the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity, which includes inappropriate calcification that can lead to hardening of your arteries. To learn more, please see my previous article: What You Need to Know About Vitamin K2, D and Calcium. If you take oral vitamin D and have cancer, it would be very prudent to monitor your vitamin D blood levels regularly.

7. Get regular, good sleep.

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

9. Limit your exposure and provide protection for yourself from radiation produced by cell phones, towers, base stations, and WiFi stations.

10. Avoid frying or charbroiling your food. Boil, poach or steam your foods instead.

11. Have a tool to permanently reprogram 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 resolving emotional challenges, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

12. Eat at least one-third of your food raw.

Consider adding cancer-fighting whole foods, herbs, spices and supplements to your diet, such as broccoli, curcumin and resveratrol. To learn more about how these anti-angiogenetic foods, and many others, work to fight cancer, please see my previous article: Dramatically Effective New Natural Way to Starve Cancer and Obesity.