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Getting Cancer is More than Just Bad Luck

Clear evidence suggests people can choose to take steps to lower cancer risk.

Cancer is not caused mainly by "bad luck." The authors of a recent paper based this conclusions on estimates of random cell mistakes (mutations) made during cell replication. While genetic mutations are involved in cancers, these may be caused by external and modifiable factors such as adopting a healthy lifestyle.

PositiveTip: Clear evidence supports the value of walking more, drinking water instead of sugary-beverages, substituting veggies for fatty foods, and many other simple measures that lower the risk of cancer.

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Heart Attack Risk Linked to Emotions

Short-bouts of intense physical activity and high emotions may be deadly.

A study of over 12,000 individuals who had experienced their first myocardial infarction (MI) found being emotionally upset and engaging in intense physical activity may trigger an MI. This case-crossover study demonstrated that compared to the control period, the risk increased 2.31 times for extreme physical exertion, 2.44 times for anger and emotional upset, and 3.05 times when both were present. This evidence corroborates the Biblical story of Nabal, his anger, and subsequent death (I Samuel 25).

PositiveTip: Avoid intense emotional upset and/or short bouts of extreme physical activity.

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women--except for skin cancer.

AICR estimates nearly 81,400 women--or one-third of US breast cancer cases could be prevented by 3 simple steps. 

  1. Get to and stay at your healthy weight.
  2. Fit activity into your day--at least 30 minutes.
  3. Avoid alcohol--even small amounts increase risk.

Download and print this infographic, then place it at your work, church, or club to help others understand the importance of these steps.

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Physical Inactivity Leads to Higher Cancer Risk

Aim for 30+ minutes of physical activity a day--in any way!

More than a quarter of adults in America age 50+ reported no physical activity outside of work during the past month--that is about 31 million people at higher risk for obesity, heart disease, and cancer. The largest demographic of inactive people was in the South. The American Institute for Cancer Research reports too much body fat increases the risk of 11 cancers.

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Processed Meats Classified as Cause of Cancer

Each 1.75 ounces (50 gm) of processed meat increases risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer released an evaluation of red and processed meat consumption that has created a small media frenzy. An international group of scientists, after a careful review of the accumulated data, has classified processed meat as carcinogenic to humans based on sufficient evidence, and red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans based on limited evidence. 

PositiveTip: The most wholesome diet continues to be largely plant-based without the use of processed meats.

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Lifelong Cancer Prevention

Parents who embrace a healthy lifestyle are positive role models for their kids.

You know healthy habits can reduce the risk of cancer and other health issues. Did you know the sooner those habits start, the greater the impact they will have? The American Institute for Cancer Research has many practical activities and tips to help you adopt a low-risk lifestyle for your home. Checkout this printable chart and place it on your refrigerator for frequent reminders.

PositiveTip: Remember, you need to be a positive role model for your children and grandchildren!

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Vaping Seems to Lead to Smoking

Vaping increases the risk of teens later becoming smokers by four-fold.

Researchers following a group of high school students found using e-cigarettes significantly predicts future cigarette or other smokable tobacco product use. E-cigarette users were 4.27 times (P>0.001) more likely to use "combustible tobacco products" (cigarettes, tobacco hookah, and cigars) and 2.65 times (P>0.001) more likely to become cigarette smokers than those never using e-cigarettes. Vaping has tripled in U.S. middle and high school students in the last year!

PositiveTip: Inhaling an addictive substance is not good for anyone. Support swift regulation of these dangerous products.

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The Need for Critical Evaluation

Unbalanced and poorly reported health information can impact lives.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired an investigative documentary (later withdrawn) discussing the side-effects of statins. They reported an"increased risk of 50 percent" for diabetes, which would more accurately be described as a change from two people out of 200 with diabetes to three people out of 200. Researchers estimate an extra 28,000 Australians stopped taking these cholesterol-lowering meds after the documentary aired. This could have translated to 2900 preventable, and potentially fatal cardiovascular incidents.

PositiveTip: Consult with your health care professional before abandoning any prescription medication.

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Good Advice for Cancer Survivors

Fourteen million in the U.S. survived cancer!

A lot is known today about how food, diet and physical activity relate to the health of those who survive cancer. The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) in partnership with the World Cancer Fund provides some very practical guidelines to reduce future risk. These include focusing on a mostly plant-based diet, avoiding even small amounts of alcohol, exercising daily, and not smoking.

PositiveTip: Choose wise living to increase your chances of surviving cancer.

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Teenage Obesity and Colorectal Cancer Risk

Obesity during teens may increase risk of colorectal cancer.

A study of almost 240,000 Swedish males, 16-20 years old were measured for height and weight. After 35 years of follow-up those in the upper overweight (BMI 27.5 to <30) or obese (BMI 30+) at the beginning were more than twice as likely to develop colorectal cancer as those who were normal weight.

PositiveTip: Establishing habits of regular physical activity and a wholesome diet early in life may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer later in life.