This week, a new study published in the journal Nature concluded that 70-90% of cancers are caused by diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors (like viruses, parasites & pollution).
And so today I’m reveling in another glorious “I told you so.”
The researchers found that most cancers – including lung, colorectal, bladder and thyroid cancers – possessed large numbers of mutations that were likely to have been caused by extrinsic (external) factors; only a few cancers had large proportions of intrinsic (internal) mutations.
Additionally, the researchers found strong epidemiological evidence supporting the high contribution of extrinsic factors to cancer development. For example, an analysis of immigrants who moved from countries with low cancer incidence to those with high cancer incidence revealed these individuals quickly acquired a higher cancer risk, suggesting extrinsic factors were to blame.
Talking to BBC News, senior study author Dr. Yusuf Hannun, of the Health Sciences Center at Stony Brook, said their findings show that “people can’t hide behind bad luck.”
“They can’t smoke and say it’s bad luck if they have cancer,” he explained. “It is like a revolver – intrinsic risk is one bullet. And if playing Russian roulette, then maybe 1 in 6 will get cancer – that’s the intrinsic bad luck.”
“Now, what a smoker does is add two or three more bullets to that revolver,” Dr. Hannun continued. “And now, they pull the trigger. There is still an element of luck as not every smoker gets cancer, but they have stacked the odds against them. From a public health point of view, we want to remove as many bullets as possible from the chamber.” (Source)
It’s encouraging to know there are still researchers interested in identifying the causes of cancer in order to help us prevent it, as opposed to those in the scientific and medical community who just shrug their shoulders and say, “We don’t know why… Let’s just call it all bad luck.”
Of course this latest paper is not presenting a new idea. Doctors and researchers have been saying this for decades, like this paper from 2008, which links 90-95% of cancers to diet, lifestyle and environment.
This cancer survivor is definitely in the 90-95% camp.
We all know that drinking, smoking and drug use promotes cancer, and that environmental toxins can cause cancer, but what kind of diet promotes cancer?
A Western Diet rich in meat, dairy, and processed food, as well as refined sugar, salt and oils.
The healthiest populations of people around the world, with the lowest rates of our leading cancer killers (lung, colon, breast, etc.), eat very little to none of those foods. And they ain’t Paleo.
If you are interested in diet and lifestyle habits that have been scientifically proven to prevent and reverse our top 15 leading causes of premature death, I recommend starting with my favorite book of 2015 How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger.
There is one more factor not discussed in this article, which I believe outweighs all else.
And that is stress.
Stress is the missing link between why some people “healthy” people get cancer and some “unhealthy” people do not. I created a 90-minute module to help you identify and eliminate stress, which will be included in my new coaching program launching in January. Stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, watch this short interview with Dr. Patrick Vickers, in which he and I discuss the impact that stress has on healing cancer: