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'Lifestyle' cancers increasing in developing countries
February 4th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

'Lifestyle' cancers increasing in developing countries

Friday is World Cancer Day.  A new report from the American Cancer Society says cancers that are usually more common in developed countries such as lung and breast cancer, are now on the rise in developing countries and will continue to increase unless preventive measures are taken immediately.

7.6 million people died worldwide of cancer in 2008.  The number is expected to rise to 13.2 million deaths by 2030.  Experts say that's because more people will be on the planet and they will be living longer.

Among the highlights in the report:

  • Breast cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death for women in developing countries.  Previously, cervical cancer killed more women. Experts believe the change may be due in part to the adoption of unhealthy lifestyles and the link between breast cancer and obesity.
  • Colon cancer is on the decline in the U.S. but it's increasing in regions such as Eastern Europe and Asia.   Spain has also seen a large increase  in colon cancer.  Researchers blame the growing smoking epidemic and obesity.
  • The rate of men dying from lung cancer is going down in the United States and other Western countries.  That's largely in part because tobacco use is decreasing.  However, several African and Asian countries including China are seeing a rise in lung cancer. As more people smoke in that part of the world, more people are getting lung cancer.

Experts say this trend can be reversed in developing countries if action is taking immediately.  The American Cancer Society's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Otis Brawley is calling on national and international public health agencies, governments and businesses to develop cancer prevention programs around the world.


soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. DJW

    Since when is breast cancer a life-style cancer? I'm a cancer survivor, never been obese, and have lived a pretty healthy lifestyle.

    February 4, 2011 at 01:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anongirl30

      I hate articles like these, because they promote the idea that if a person gets cancer, they should have lived a healthier lifestyle. It makes people think they are somehow not at risk, or that the victim is somehow to blame, but it's really about luck, and not the victim's fault. That's not to say we should smoke or live otherwise unhealthy lifestyles, but most people do the best the can and don't need people speculating on why they got cancer. Anyone can get it. I hope you're doing well!

      February 4, 2011 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
    • FirstResponder

      Do you eat any dairy products (milk, butter, cheese)? Do you eat any animal products (meat, chicken, fish)? Do you eat any trans fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils or shortening)? If you answer yes to any of these, your cancer was a lifestyle choice. If you want to avoid cancer, just eat a plant-based diet comprised primarily of locally grown seasonal organic produce that raw or minimally cooked, along with some organic nuts, seeds, and legumes. It's that simple, really!

      February 4, 2011 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
    • FirstResponder

      @Anongirl30 said that avoiding cancer is a matter of luck.
      I beg to differ. Rolling dice or flipping a coin is luck. Cancer happens for a REASON. It's your body's natural response to a set of unbalanced conditions. Just because you don't understand the scientific reason why something happens doesn't make it luck. It just makes you uneducated. Please read The China Study and as many other hard science journals as you can, and you will learn that there is a traceable cause for all illness and disease.

      February 4, 2011 at 12:48 | Report abuse |
    • FirstResponder

      Sorry for my oversimplified reply. As @kenga said below, exposure to chemicals is also a HUGE factor contributing to causing cancer. If you breathe unfiltered air or drink unfiltered water, or live or work in a place with new carpeting or furniture, you are ingesting vast amounts of toxins introduced into the environment by factories, power plants, vehicles, non-organic farmers, people who flush unused medications, autobody shops, golf course fertilizers, swimming pools, furniture, carpeting and clothing manufacturers, the list goes on and on...

      February 4, 2011 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
    • Anongirl30

      FirstResponder, You seriously expect people to be 100% vegans who eat nothing except 100% organic produce, drink nothing but unfiltered water ever, never buy new furniture, magically find a job in a magical building that has no sort of chemical exposures, etc? There is no way you do all that yourself. Do you have no social life, never eat in restaurants, never go on vacation? Do you not leave the house, or what? I think it is so so wrong for you to tell someone that because they drink milk or eat fish or eggs that their cancer was a lifestyle choice. Soooo wrong.

      February 5, 2011 at 05:34 | Report abuse |
    • FirstResponder

      Anongirl30, how about if we take the word "lifestyle" out of the sentence and just say "it is a choice"? If you know these things cause cancer, and you choose to expose yourself to them anyway, then yes, it was your choice. I completely agree with you that something is wrong here. What is wrong is that you barely HAVE a choice. The choice to AVOID all these known carcinogens is a difficult and unpopular one to make. You have to be willing to say to your employer, "I'm sorry, but I won't work in this office unless I can have a door on my own private space and I can continuously purify the air." And you have to willing to say to your friends, "I'll gladly go out to dinner with you, but either I pick the restaurant, or I will just bring my own food." We all have the power to vote with our feet and our pocketbooks. We don't HAVE to buy the toxic stuff. We don't HAVE to set foot in stores that sell it. If enough people voted that way, guess what? The toxic stuff would disappear. And speaking of voting, the other step that 99.99% of all people FAIL to take is to write to their senators and congressional representatives and tell them that it's time for the government to step up to the plate and give the people some legitimate protection against all these environmental toxins. All they do now is listen to the lobbyists who are paid for by the polluters themselves, and the lobbyists say "I will donate $100,000 to your campaign fund if you agree to not pass any laws restricting the use of our deadly products." That is the sad truth about the way it works today. Corporate money talks, and the health of the citizens doesn't matter.

      February 5, 2011 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
    • Eliza

      Breast cancer is certainly not a choice, but the subconscious life-style choices we make can certainly change a lot. My mother is stage four and receives treatment at one of the best breast cancer research hospitals in the country; they just shared this study with her:

      http://silentspring.org/our-research/research-updates/new-study-shows-fresh-food-diet-reduces-levels-hormone-disruptors-bpa-

      Why do these things not get more attention? There are easy prevention forms out there, we just need to start becoming more aware.

      April 2, 2011 at 17:31 | Report abuse |
  2. dichack

    Yeap. In fact, did you know that Currently, many insurance companies do not allow adult children to remain on their parents' plan once they reach 19. Companies cannot do that any more. Search onilne for "Wise Health Insurance" and you can insure your kids if you are in the same boat.

    February 4, 2011 at 05:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. kenga

    Life-style in this case probably means "living in a soup of industrial chemicals and by products."

    Archaelogists have studied preserved human bodies, and found that cancer was very very very very rare.
    And cancer in CHILDREN just didn't happen.
    Cancer is a symptom of the industrial era, and more than a century of pollution.

    So, of course it will be treated as a "lifestyle" issue.
    If we show that chemicals are at fault, there's gonna be trillions of dollars in lawsuits, and some of the most
    wealthy people in the world made their dough manufacturing chemicals that were never proven to be safe.

    February 4, 2011 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. DAYO-OLA

    We cannot just conclude that cancer is a 'lifestyle' issue.All developing countries are working towards the industrialization of their countries, do we now conclude that the industrialization of countries should be discouraged at the expense of maintaining a cancer free populace? I believe that awareness should be increased in developing countries on the dangers associated with certain lifestyle.

    February 4, 2011 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FirstResponder

      The problem is that cancer doesn't arrive overnight. People choose to make the "pleasurable" lifestyle choice today, and figure they will be the one to beat the odds and not get cancer later, because it takes so long to show up. Just imagine how many smokers would be if anyone who smokes died within 24 hours of their first cigarette!

      February 4, 2011 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
  5. Lou

    Easy fix. Take more vitamin D. Gov't's recommendation of 200 IU a day and sun scare are what lead to widespread vitamin D deficiency which greatly increases risk of getting cancer, asthma, allergies, and many others. Latest studies shows that adult human body need around 5000 IU a day. Big difference.

    Before you attack me, explain why there is a couple pharma companies patenting analogs of vitamin D to treat cancer? Blame gov't and mainstream medical establishment for this major screw up.

    February 4, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Lou

    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/cancerTreatment.shtml

    February 4, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. katie

    No, what's causing it is the water we keep sending to these countries. Everyone knows our water is poison...

    February 4, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Lynda Carpenter

    Have you read "The China Study"?? It shows that animal protein (meat) is fed to cancer cells, and they THRIVE and increase, but when these cancer cells are fed plant protein, they actually DIE. I believe cancers are caused by eating at fast food restaurants, eating too much meat and not enough vegatables, white bread instead of 100 % whole wheat breads, and what the China Study shows is that cow's milk is very very high in "Casine", which is fed to cancer cells and they love it. So change from cow's milk to either goat's milk, or to soy and almond milk. I've just recently (2 weeks) changed to a plant based diet, and I've already lost 10 lbs, and feel much better, even energized to work out and excercise more. I hope this helps someone............

    February 4, 2011 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FirstResponder

      You meant to say "Casein", but yes, that's good info. Just be sure to choose USDA Certified organic soy milk, because all others are made from genetically modified (GMO) soybeans that were sprayed in the fields with RoundUp, one of the most deadly poisons this planet has ever seen.

      February 4, 2011 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
    • katie

      Our water supplies are dangerous, our dirt is contaminated with pollutants and our air is polluted. What part of 'everything' causes cancer don't people understand. There is no way to prevent it, you can only hope that it doesn't effect you. Cancer is on the rise, as is our polluting ways. No matter what we do, we cannot change what we've already done.

      February 4, 2011 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
  9. Karen

    First Responder, you sound like you have medical and scientific knowledge but that does not make you an expert here. Do you live in a glass jar? Because most people cannot remove themselves from every risk you speak of. That does NOT mean THEY made the lifestyle choice. Your words are selfish. Also, as for soy products, too much soy unbalances hormones. There are no easy answers. Most of us do the best we can. But life is NOT lived in a glass jar.

    February 4, 2011 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FirstResponder

      Good observations Karen. I don't live in a glass jar, but I certainly do take every possible step to limit my exposure to environmental toxins. I joke with friends that my goal is to be the first person to live forever, and so far, it looks like it's working! :-) I use a HEPA air filter in the bedroom and in the car. If I go somewhere where I can smell toxins in the air (for example any Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart or Target store, etc.), I just leave immediately. I have a well (not municipal water), and process it with reverse osmosis so that it is completely pure. I grow my own food with heirloom seeds, and I compost all food scraps to give it back to the earth. I eat almost 100% raw food. And you're right, I don't recommend eating too much soy, I was just saying that if you DO choose to eat soy, at least be sure it's USDA organic. I am certainly not considered "normal" by most people who observe my lifestyle. But then again, I am almost 50 and my doctor says I have the blood and body chemistry of a healthy 20 year old, so whatever I am doing I should keep it up. I also weigh the same as when I was 18, and can still ride 140 miles a day on my bicycle or rollerblade or cross country ski or row intensely for 6-8 hours no problem. I take zero meds of any kind and can still read a newspaper from 10 feet away. So something is working.

      February 4, 2011 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
  10. ashley

    This tragedy has to be dealt with by spending more money on prevention. Most of us don't realize how unhealthy our diet is, including red meat, fruits and vegetables laced in pesticides, processed foods high in preservatives etc. This culture of poor diet together with alcohol consumption, rising obesity, high levels of stress, can be corrected quite easily if the collective consciousness of country is ready for change. By the way, regular practice of Transcendental Meditation has been found to reduce cancer rates and cancer mortality. (see for example: American Journal of Cardiology 2005;95:1060–1064 and Psychosomatic Medicine 49:493-507 (1987))

    February 4, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Eli

    Rather than a "rise" in cancer rates, perhaps there is a "rise" in reporting it.

    It's one thing to die in in a one-room shack after working the rice pattys your whole life and you suddenly feel unwell. It's another thing when you have money to go to a doctor and find out that disease has a name. Only then can it be reported.

    I think the "rise" is simply more people seeking cures in Western medicine and going to a doctor. But I've been wrong before.

    February 4, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Slim

    Mmmmmmmmmm, cancer tastes so good!

    February 4, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anongirl30

      I had a yummy IHOP breakfast with my family, because that's what they wanted, so according to FirstResponder, it's my fault if I become ill. He must be a joy to spend time with.

      February 5, 2011 at 05:38 | Report abuse |
    • FirstResponder

      I'm sorry to hear that you ate at IHOP. Yes, unfortunately there is not one single thing there that is safe to eat. Their pancakes and waffles are made with a mix that is loaded with partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which is the same plastic substance that is used to make margarine. It is technically PLASTIC (even the FDA recognizes it as plastic), and it cannot be digested by humans or any other creatures. It will raise your serum cholesterol level (yes, despite the fact that it itself is cholesterol free), and will cause atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and cysts, which can become tumours. I'll spare you the details about the toxicity of everything else at IHOP, mostly because I think you probably already know the rest of the facts anyway.
      Look – if you had a nice time at breakfast with your family, that's the important thing, and I'm happy for you. Just please don't get mad at me if I vote for a politician who is not in favor of laws that will allow the government to steal MY hard-earned money and use it to pay for medical care for people who chose to eat at IHOP a few years earlier.

      February 5, 2011 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
  13. Lothar

    Well now that they are not starving to death young or dieing from other curable illnesses what do you expect. Maybe we all should live forever.

    February 6, 2011 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. IKnowYourSecret

    FirstResponder = Troll

    February 6, 2011 at 11:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Surething

      Possibly a troll, but there are nuts like this out there. They think they can live forever by eschewing every possible risk. It just seems like forever-who'd want to live a life devoid of the pleasures of food and drink, avoiding all possible scenarios where one might encounter anything possibly harmful in the slightest? All things in moderation. You're going to die anyway. If you want to die without eating good food and drinking good wine, be my guest. I am guessing no one wants to spend much time with you.

      February 6, 2011 at 12:48 | Report abuse |
    • FirstResponder

      I've asked several people and couldn't get a clear definition of what "troll" means in this context. Could you please define it for me?

      February 7, 2011 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
  15. Vera

    Please exercise a for at least 2.5 hours a week! This will save your life! The World Health Organization issued a press release regarding the necessity of exercise: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/multimedia/podcasts/2011/cancer_20110207/en/

    February 7, 2011 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. music

    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with helpful information to work on. You've performed a formidable task and our entire community shall be grateful to you.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply

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