Does everything cause cancer?

Everything does not cause cancer: How to sort out science facts

Does it seem sometimes as though everything we eat, breathe or do causes cancer, or birth defects, or miscarriages?
Well, here is some news for those who wonder whether anything from apples to sweetener is safe.

According to Consumer’s Research magazine, studies on the causes of dreaded medical problems such as cancers, miscarriages and birth defects are often misleading and almost always inconclusive. That’s why a diligent consumer may read one day that power lines cause cancer and the next day that they do not.

Here are some guidelines that may take the fright factor out of reading scientific studies:

* People are living longer and dying of different things.
Before measles shots, some percentage of children would die of this childhood disease or another. Those children may now survive, but they will eventually die, as we all do.

* As people live longer, cancer becomes more common.
At the dawn of man, very few people died of cancer. Instead, they got stomped by elephants and attacked by lions. They starved. They got the plague. They froze to death.

Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-fourth of the adult population will get cancer and one-fifth will die of it. That doesn’t mean technology and environment are responsible. It means we are living longer. There are many cancers that occur in children, but most occur in adults. The older the population, the more likely that cancer will be a cause of death.

Moreover, most cancers are not explained. An environmental or behaviorial factor is very rarely demonstrated to cause cancer, according to Michael Fumento, author of Science Under Seige (William Morrow, New York, 1993). Smoking and lung cancer have been definitely linked.

* Miscarriages are relatively common and unexplained.
The rate of miscarriage after a recognized pregnancy ranges from 12.5 percent to 15 percent, Fumento writes. Since there are hundreds of millions of people in North America, that would be a large number of women experiencing miscarriage. These women are scattered all over the continent. Occasionally, more than one woman in an office building or neighborhood may have a miscarriage. This doesn’t mean there is a cause in their environment.

*Birth defects are not unusual and they are mostly unexplained.
Of the four million babies born each year in the U.S., up to 120,000 may have birth defects. Although there is technology available that sometimes can determine causes of defects and miscarriages, at least 43 percent have an unknown cause and the rest have at least some unknown factor.

* Rare diseases occasionally happen to people with unusual or dangerous occupations or environments. A rare disease may occur in a person who works in or lives near a nuclear reactor. Before linking the two events, remember that the rest of the people who have that same rare disease do not live next to or work in the nuclear reactor. Nevertheless, the others still have the rare disease.

Diabetes: The disease that affects every part of the body

Until now, you may not have thought much about diabetes. You probably know people who have type 2 and they seem to be OK. It makes you wonder, “How serious can it be?”
It’s a killer. How serious is that? While deaths from cancer, heart disease and stroke have declined significantly since 1987, deaths from diabetes increased by 45 percent. And that percentage will grow with each passing year unless individuals begin to take prevention more seriously.
Nearly 24 million Americans already have diabetes. That’s an amazing number, but another 57 million are at risk. They have pre-diabetes and may not realize it.
If you are overweight, don’t exercise and have been feeling pretty tired lately, it’s time to see your doctor for a glucose tolerance test.
Normal fasting glucose is below 100 mg/dl. A person with pre-diabetes has a level between 100 and 125 mg/dl. If the level is above 126, the person has diabetes.
The good news is that even if your glucose level is high, you can keep from getting type 2 diabetes. But you have to get serious about doing it.
* Get 30 minutes a day of regular exercise. You’ll have to do it anyway if you move to type 2, so why not walk or exercise to prevent it?
* Have a better diet. Eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer high-fat meats and dairy products. Consume fewer sugars, like regular soda, and fewer simple carbohydrates like those in white flour, doughnuts and rolls.
* Lose a few pounds. If you exercise and eat better, you probably will, but also eat smaller portions of foods. Even a 5 percent weight loss makes a difference, but 10 percent reduces type 2 risk by 58 percent.
In November, the American Diabetes Association asks, “How will you ‘Stop Diabetes?’ The future is in your hands.”