Monday, January 2, 2012

Good News and Bad News on Cancer

If it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, we shouldn't be surprised that landmark news about cancer comes with pictures, charts, a video, and a long, in-depth article. It's rare that a mass-media source publishes a health-related article as comprehensive and clear as this one, so I recommend that you sink your teeth in, no matter what your level of scientific understanding.

Even though I spend most of my days talking about the importance of diet, exercise and lifestyle, I was surprised by the findings of this study. It wasn't that healthy living is good for you - I wrote about that in a blog a few months ago - it was the fact that a full 40% of cancers are attributable to causes within our control. This is a massive percentage, and one that should make us all stand up and take notice. Though a healthy lifestyle doesn't guarantee that we won't get cancer, it reduces our risk dramatically.

The good news from this report is that we have an incredible amount of control over cancer. The bad news is that we've clearly been remiss in our duties for decades. Excess alcohol, smoking, lack of fresh fruit and vegetables, lack of exercise, and an unhealthy weight all contribute to our likelihood of developing cancer, and are within our power to change. Last week I challenged my readers to make a New Year's commitment to their health by losing weight - what else are you going to do this year to make healthy changes?