• Waldenström Macroglobulinemia
  • Melanoma
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Brain Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Childhood Cancers
  • Gastric Cancer
  • Gynecologic Cancer
  • Head & Neck Cancer
  • Immunotherapy
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Lymphoma Cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • MPN
  • MDS
  • Myeloma
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Rare Cancers
  • Sarcoma
  • Skin Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer

What's it going to take to prevent cancer?


Dr. Len's latest blog is a punch in the gut. I love reading his American Cancer Society "Dr. Len's Cancer Blog" because he pulls no punches. He will call out the media for inaccurate reporting, candidly discuss the cost of cancer care and explain complicated topics with a conversational and patient tone you don't find with many physicians. In "Cancer Facts and Figures 2011: Poverty is a Carcinogen. Does Anyone Care?" he discusses the newly released "Cancer Facts and Figures 2011" and the fact that "poverty remains one of the most potent carcinogens - rivaling tobacco and obesity - as we have ever seen."Last Friday, CURE posted the news story, "Cancer death rates continue drop: study." But Dr. Len points out those who are poor and with limited education still have a much higher risk of cancer and cancer mortality. And it has little to do with race. "...that increased risk is much less based on race as compared to education. Education trumps ethnicity," he writes.Do you know what this means? It means we have the ability to prevent thousands of cancers every year. It's not all biological. It's something we can change.He mentions from the report: "Among African Americans, eliminating socioeconomic disparities has the potential to avert twice as many deaths as eliminating racial disparities....Much of the disparity between African Americans and whites within the same level of education results from differences in risk factors and access to health care that cannot be captured in terms of educational attainment."And it's not just education, but health insurance, access to good medical care and support. Dr. Len's post highlights these topics that we should be talking about in the public forum. It's definitely worth reading his entire post, which I encourage. Dr. Len then touches on a pet peeve of mine. The fact that, as a society, we're more concerned with medical media hype. We're more worried about the avian flu than the real, deadly consequences of the seasonal flu. We become more concerned with cell phones causing cancer than lack of exercise. And the fact that we no longer microwave our meals in plastic containers, but we still overindulge in alcohol and processed meats.He writes: We have been hearing for the past several weeks about the things that could cause cancer. We have been inundated with media reports telling us what is bad for us and perhaps not so good for us. We have started a national conversation about cell phones, airport scanners and now Styrofoam and formaldehyde.But sitting right in front of our noses is the fact that if we did what we already know, at least 37% of cancer deaths in people between the ages of 27 and 64 could be avoided right now.So who, my friends, is talking about that? Where is the national conversation about the fact that poverty is a carcinogen? Are you talking about it? Is the media talking about it? Are the politicians talking about it? Are your friends talking about it?If the silence is deafening, then perhaps you have your answer. We're listening. And we're talking about it. What are we going to do about it?

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