Why the war on cancer is still far from won

The way the media reports it, you’d think we turned a corner on the cancer epidemic. But I’m sorry to say that it just isn’t so.

The truth is that global cancer incidence has only gone up over the last decade. And lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and skin cancer — all of which are largely preventable — account for a good portion of that rise.

That’s the conclusion of a recent worldwide analysis. And for as much as I hate to rattle off statistics, I think everyone needs to hear these numbers.

Cancer cases have climbed 30 percent

This study looked at the disease incidence, death rates, and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) among nearly 30 cancer groups across 195 countries over the course of a decade.

For starters, cancer cases have jumped nearly thirty percent since 2006. In 2016 alone, more than 17 million people across the globe received a cancer diagnosis. And nearly nine million patients died of the disease.

The odds varied according to gender, with one in three men developing cancer during their lifetime, and one in five women.

Among women, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and skin cancer were the most common in 2016. The most common for men were colorectal and prostate cancers, and cancers of the trachea, bronchus, or lung.

These cancers made up 40 percent of all diagnoses in each gender. And they’re either largely preventable — as in the cases of lung, skin, and colorectal cancer. Or in the case of prostate cancer, generally benign and very treatable.

Another interesting thing to point out: In the U.S., breast cancer strikes one in eight women — while in developing nations, the incidence is only one in 50 women. (Though in the latter, cervical cancer rates were also nearly four times as high.)

Obviously, different countries are going to have different cancer rates for any number of reasons. But the economic resources for education, screening, and prevention are no small factor here.

So the fact that one of the wealthiest nations in the world still has such a staggeringly high rate of breast cancer? Call me crazy, but that doesn’t sound like we’ve won the war on anything.

What your doctor doesn’t know can kill you

Again, what breaks my heart here is that so many of these cancers are completely preventable.

And yet, researchers have come to the conclusion that “even in the best-case scenario, only a fraction of cancers are preventable under current conditions, providing universal access to health care is crucial for cancer control.”

I beg to differ. What else is there to say? Because while I am a huge advocate of access to health care for all, I also hate to break it to whoever wrote this report that way more than a fraction of these cancers are preventable.

There is a long list of steps you can take in your everyday life to significantly lower your risk of winding up with these deadly diagnoses. And last I checked, that’s the very definition of prevention.

Not smoking and being smart about your sun exposure are two obvious ways to deal with these threats. But let me remind you that diet, as always, is one of your most powerful weapons against cancer. And many, if not most cases, are directly linked to sugar consumption.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Sugar kills. And cancer is just one of the ways it gets the job done.

Of course, your average conventional oncologist wouldn’t know a healthy diet from a hole in the ground. And there’s no greater tragedy in my mind — because misguided advice in this department can and does prove lethal.

I debunked the most dangerous dietary myths for cancer patients back in the July 2014 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“Deadly diet advice could be killing countless cancer victims”). Subscribers have access to that article, and everything else I’ve ever written, in the archives.

So if you haven’t signed up yet, there really is no day like today. Because if these latest statistics are any indication, your life may quite literally depend upon it.