A recent report in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians looked at US cancer incidence and death rates by analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Program of Cancer Registries, the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data base, and the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
The authors concluded that 42% of cancers diagnosed, and 45% of cancer deaths, could be attributed to unhealthy behaviors. The most significant unhealthy behaviors include cigarette smoking, excess body weight, and alcohol intake, which by themselves accounted for 33% of cancer diagnoses and 39% of cancer deaths.
This represents one of those good news – bad news situation. The bad news is that Americans are developing and dying from cancer because of their unhealthy behaviors, but the good news is that these unhealthy behaviors are under our control, and that if Americans choose not to use tobacco, choose to maintain a healthy body weight, and choose to drink not at all or only in moderation, the incidence and death rates of cancer can be dramatically reduced.