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Reducing the Risk

Posted 7/11/2016

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  This entry is partly to offer a more hopeful view that some things that I wrote last week. Trying to sustain a reasonable balance between realism and optimism can be tough! My husband, who is a medical oncologist, pointed out this New York Times article to me and suggested that I share it.

  The quick summary is that there may be a few things that we can do to reduce our cancer risk. For those of us who have already been diagnosed, the possible leap is that this same few things may help keep us well. For sure, much about cancer is completely out of our control, and there are no magic behaviors or foods or supplements that can guarantee continued good health.

  There are some sensible things to do: e.g. don't smoke and wear your seat belt. And could probably add flossing your teeth to that list because none of us enjoy a lot of time at the dentist. Here is the start and a link to read more:

Helpless to Prevent Cancer? Actually, Quite a Bit Is in Your Control

Aaron E. Carroll 

Americans seem very afraid of cancer, with good reason. Unlike other things that kill us, it often seems to come out of nowhere.

But evidence has increasingly accumulated that cancer may be preventable, too. Unfortunately, this has inflamed as much as it has assuaged people’s fears.

As a physician, I have encountered many people who believe that heart disease, which is the single biggest cause of death among Americans, is largely controllable. After all, if people ate better, were physically active and stopped smoking, then lots of them would get better. This ignores the fact that people can’t change many risk factors of heart disease like age, race and family genetics.

People don’t often seem to feel the same way about cancer. They think it’s out of their control. A study published in Science in January 2015 seemed to support that view. It tried to explain why some tissues lead to cancer more often than others. It found a strong correlation between the number of times a cell divides in the course of a lifetime and the risk of developing cancer

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