Do You Really Know What Causes Cancer? Study Says, You Don’t

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What Causes CancerYou know that cancer is a real threat, but do you know what can cause it? Well, as I recently found out, according to a new survey, there’s a good chance you don’t.

Lifestyle decisions can play a big role in your risk for a number of cancers. Colon cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, and pancreatic cancer are all linked to the decisions you make every day. Not every case of these types of cancer is based on lifestyle factors, but a number of them are. Makes sense, right? Strangely, only a minority of Americans realizes this.

Majority of Americans Don’t Know What Causes Cancer

However, most Americans, yourself maybe included, believe that a number of external factors are causing cancer. And this is true even if there’s little to nothing proving that they actually do. As I read in a recent survey by the American Institute for Cancer Research, between 54% and 62% of respondents believe things like psychological stress, hormones in beef, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), and “food additives” increase cancer risk.

This is a problem, because it shows there is really little public awareness about what increases cancer risk. Strong research indicates that about half of all cancer deaths can be prevented by lifestyle choices. Things like not smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight are effective ways to reduce the risk of a number of cancers.

Misinformation Causes Confusion About Cancer

In my opinion, you may not know how you can reduce your risk of cancer because of an overwhelming amount of misinformation circulating. I also believe that people want to adopt things that work for them, and I get that. But this makes it easier to blame something else than assume personal responsibility or make changes. For example, there is no solid evidence to date that artificial sweeteners cause cancer, yet more than half of survey respondents believe it does. So what do they do? They leave the diet soda out, but they eat a cheeseburger and fries, even though processed and red meats are proven to increase their risk of cancer.

Is it possible artificial sweeteners, GMOs, and stress cause cancer? It very well might be, but to date, there isn’t sufficient data to say so. There are, however, all kinds of data showing that a diet high in fruits and vegetables lowers the risk for various cancers. But since 2009, 10% fewer people are aware that a diet low in fruits and vegetables is associated with increased cancer risk. According to this survey, Americans are becoming more misinformed!

How to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer: Get Informed!

The one simple step you have to take to start reducing your risk of cancer is to increase your own awareness. Keep reading reputable material and know how to analyze studies, but be skeptical; the results of just one study do not provide definitive answers. Studies must be repeated with the same results before conclusions can be reached, so look at the facts and what’s already established. If you want to reduce your risk for certain cancers, look at proven strategies.

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Source for Today’s Article:
“Americans Confused About Cancer Risks,” MedlinePlus web site, February 4, 2015; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_150777.html.

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