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Cancer Now World's Biggest Killer

Global battle against cancer depends on more than treatment alone.

Today is World Cancer Day. Cancer now kills 8.2 million people each year in the world, with a total economic burden of US$1.16 trillion. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has released World Cancer Report 2014. There has been an 11% rise in the global incidence of cancer, and cancer cases are forecast to increase by 75% during the next two decades. Treatment alone is not enough, preventive measures are essential.

PositiveTip: Lower your risk with a wholesome diet, plenty of exercise, and an ideal weight.

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Consuming Nuts Can Lower Risk of Death

Nut consumption may actually lower mortality rates.

Analysis of 75,000 women in the Nurses Health Study and more than 40,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study revealed those who ate nuts once a week had a lower mortality rate than those who do not eat nuts. When nut consumption increased even more, mortality rate fell for both cancer and heart disease. Tree nuts and peanuts demonstrated similar results.

PositiveTip: Nuts should be a part of a balanced, healthful diet.

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Diabetes-Cancer Links

Type 2 diabetes and cancer risk are connected!

Did you know there are links between type 2 diabetes and cancer? These risks are elevated for liver, pancreas, colon and endometrial cancers; probably higher for breast, bladder, kidney and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, also. Lifestyle choices influence the risk for both diseases. Choices that decrease the risk of cancer also promote the control of diabetes because of shared risk factors. To learn more read the American Institute of Cancer Research discussion of this topic.

PositiveTip: Eat healthfully, exercise daily, and maintain ideal weight to reduce the risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Humans Can't Change Bad Behavioirs

It is difficult for humans to change the way they do something when they have been doing it the same way for a long time. New research on the often deadly cancer, melanoma demonstrates this frustrating tendency as described in the Bible.

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.” Jeremiah 13:23 (NKJV)

"A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud." 2 Peter 2:22 (NIV)

"As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Proverbs 26:11 (NIV)

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Small Intakes of Alcohol Increase Cancer Risk

Light drinking increases the risk of cancer!

More than 3.5% of all cancers are attributable to drinking alcohol, and there is convincing evidence that this increases the risk for cancer of the colon, breast, larynx, liver, esophagus and mouth. Most of this evidence came from studies of high and moderate intake of alcohol. An analytical review by Italian researchers of 222 studies involving almost 92,000 light drinkers (up to 1 drink/day) has found even this level of drinking is associated with increased risk of mouth, esophagus and breast cancer.

PositiveTip: Avoid even small amounts of alcohol to minimize your risk of cancer.

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Alcohol and Cancer Risk

Only 1.5 drinks of alcohol per day significantly increases the risk of cancer.

Alcohol use accounted for about 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. That means that almost 20,000 Americans die from cancer each year as a result of drinking. Researchers estimated that each alcohol-related cancer death cost 18 years of potential life. Among women, breast cancer was the top cause of cancer death; in men it was cancers of the upper airway and the esophagus.

PositiveTip: There is no safe threshold for alcohol and cancer risk!

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Could Less Screening Actually Be More?

Are we really over-diagnosed in America?

Meet Dr. Timothy Wilt. You probably haven't heard his name. He has not authored any books, blogs, or newspaper columns. He doesn't even have a TV show! He is a member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a 16 member panel of independent experts. He is an evidence-based doctor, interested in quality healthcare for all. 

PositiveTip: Learn more about Dr. Wilt and why he is interested in altering your view of cancer screening to reduce early-screening anxiety.

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Early Smoking Shortens Life

Cigarette smoking started in early life significantly increases mortality.

Even though the significant negative health effects of cigarette smoking are well known, smoking rates in young people continue to rise. Analysis of data from the Harvard University Alumni Study found that men who reported smoking at age 18 experienced a 30% increase in all-cause mortality (P<0.001). Deaths from smoking-related cancers increased by 91% in these same men (P<0.001). Quitting smoking lowered risks significantly over those who continued.

PositiveTip: Do all you can to encourage young people to never start smoking.

Infections Cause Cancer

Worldwide, there are nearly 13 million cases of cancer each year. A study published in Lancet Oncology estimates that 2 million (16%) of these cancers are caused by infectious agents. 

Viruses, bacteria, and parasites are known to cause human cancers. The most common organisms causing cancer are Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B and C viruses, and the human papillomaviruses. These infections are largely preventable or treatable.

Researchers looked at 27 cancer cases in 184 countries in eight geographical regions. The percentage of infection-related cancer was highest in developing countries, 23%, compared to 7.4% in developed nations. The cancers caused by these infectious agents include cancers of the stomach, liver, and cervix. 

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Lifestyle and Cancer Risk

A large portion of cancers are preventable by healthier lifestyle choices.

According to British researchers, almost 40% of cancers are due to avoidable life choices. Tobacco causes 23% of cancer cases in men and 15.6% in women. The next largest cause of cancer in men is a diet lacking in fresh fruit and vegetables, and for women, it is being overweight. The use of alcohol is also a significant cause of cancer. 

PositiveTip: To a large extent, your lifestyle choices determine your risk of cancer.