Is there a way to beat cancer? Researchers believe it comes down to multiple facets, including genetics, lifestyle and access to care.
A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) states that cancer deaths are on the rise globally. In fact, according to the WHO, deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to reach over 13 million by 2030. Even more staggering, the number of cancer cases is expected to increase more than 80% in low-income countries — double the rate expected in high-income countries (40%).
In the United States, early detection and prevention is saving lives, as well as access to care, but many in America face uncertainty when diagnosed. The American Cancer Society highlights that cancer rates were highest among African Americans, who have a 14% higher death rate. While the gap has narrowed from 33% in 1993, America still has a long way to go for health equity which hits especially hard due to socioeconomic status. According to the ACS:
“During 2012-2016, death rates in the poorest counties were two times higher for cervical cancer and 40% higher for male lung and liver cancers, compared with the richest counties. Poverty is also associated with lower rates of routine cancer screening, later stage at diagnosis, and a lower likelihood of getting the best treatment.”
Here are three surprising statistics about cancer in the United States:
- Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease in both men and women. (American Cancer Society)
- Kentucky, Rhode Island, Delaware, Louisiana and New Jersey have the highest incidence rates of cancer. New Mexico, Wyoming, Arizona, Alaska, and Virginia have the lowest incidence rates. (U.S. News)
- Cancer is the leading cause of death in children. In 2018, over 15,000 children died of cancer. (DoSomething)
Defying the odds: Cancer prevention
Is there a way to beat cancer? Researchers believe it comes down to multiple facets, including genetic risk, lifestyle and access to care.
Here’s what the professionals say:
Mayo Clinic states that cancer prevention comes down to modifying behavior that could increase your risk of being diagnosed. Eliminating tobacco, having a healthy diet, staying current with vaccinations, using sunscreen, and keeping annual checkups are vital to lessening your risk for cancer.
The Cleveland Clinic also recommends lessening alcohol and exercising regularly, as well as removing stress by practicing mindfulness. Meditation offers many benefits from curbing stress, offering relief from tense situations and giving the mind a moment of calm to prepare for what’s ahead.
Rogel Cancer Center believes sugar plays a role in cancer prevention as well, especially for insulin-resistant individuals because when blood sugar spokes, an increase release of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) occurs which can help cancer cells grow. The clinic recommends limiting processed grains and sugars.
Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center explained sugar’s impact on cancer deeper citing that obesity is tied to cancer and cancer is tied to obesity, but the link from sugar to cancer is much more complex and cancer can’t be starved or prevented by just limiting sugar.
“Everything about your biology has been naturally selected for at least 600 million years to make sure that no matter what you eat, you keep enough glucose in your system and don’t become deficient,” Memorial Sloane Kettering explains. In short, glucose or sugar, is actually needed in the body.
What does it all come down to? Living a healthy lifestyle, that is personally curated by your care team and what makes each individual feel best. As Americans age, cancer rates grow and instead of canceling aging, one of the best decisions patients can make is discussing their family history and lifestyle with their physicians and care teams.