Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 15, 2007

Cancer Rates Are Falling. Let’s Keep It That Way.

By Mark Sisson

October is the month for breast cancer awareness, and there’s been some encouraging news. Although the month began with some critics arguing that the pink ribbon campaign has created a false sense of security that the breast cancer battle is under control – that pink ribbon ubiquity has actually hindered research and progress – a couple of recent studies are encouraging. The Big Pharma disaster, aka HRT (hormone replacement therapy), inflated breast cancer cases. As doctors are now more cautious about recommending and prescribing this course of treatment for women, breast cancer rates have dropped.

But it’s not just breast cancer. Encouragingly, across the board, we’re seeing slight but meaningful drops in some types of cancer, particularly in at-risk groups. A few standouts: lung cancer has dropped a bit in women (women are more at risk to begin with). Colorectal cancers are down in men, largely due to better screening practices.

Nevertheless, cancer is still one of our biggest killers. With sensible lifestyle practices, you can dramatically reduce your risk. I hope it goes without saying that we should avoid smoking, excess drinking, and junk food, but screenings are also a critical factor in taking responsibility for your health. Be proactive.

Here’s a helpful starter guide to screening recommendations for several of our most common cancers. (This is in addition to following a healthy lifestyle. For lung cancer, the absolute best tip is to simply avoid smoke, or quit smoking if you do currently. Here’s a beginning resource to quit smoking.)

Also, I’d like to open up the discussion to you: what are your habits and tips for preventing cancer?

Breast Cancer

Starting in her 20s, a woman should get clinical breast exams at least every 3 years. Annual mammograms should start at 40. Self-exams should be performed monthly, but make sure to do it properly.

Colon and Rectal Cancer

Starting at 50, get a test annually (fecal occult – FOBT- or fecal immunochemical – FIT). Colonoscopies should begin at 50 and continue every 10 years thereafter. Though colon cancer is often thought of as a men’s health issue, it’s equally important for women to get screened. I know you’re going to add in your tips below, but I can’t resist adding in a small note here: avoid processed meats!

Prostate Cancer

If caught early, your chances are really good. So get screened! Couple of ways to go: PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test, or the digital rectal screening (DRS). Based on your lifestyle and family history, your doc will decide with you, but you should do an initial screening at 40 or 45 at the latest. Beginning at 50, you should get both annually.

Cervical Cancer

The old standard used to be an annual test. Now, doctors say once every three years is fine for women who are either with one partner or are not sexually active and whose last test was clear. I tend to recommend going the extra-cautious route for everyone, but this is something to decide with your doctor.


Further Reading: The 7 Habits of Thin (Healthy) People

Vintage Bees: Cancer News

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4 Comments on "Cancer Rates Are Falling. Let’s Keep It That Way."


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Julia Schopick
9 years 9 months ago
Mark: It’s really encouraging to hear that cancer rates are dropping. Hopefully, this trend will continue! But it does cause me (and others) some concern that, every October, for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a huge, multi-organization publicity campaign encourages women to either buy “pink products” or to get mammograms — or both. It really isn’t that simple: Most women don’t know about the POLITICS that surround the entire “Cancer Industry.” (This phrase was coined by Ralph Moss, PhD, with his book of the same name.) This, and many other books, give lots of examples that demonstrate that the cancer… Read more »
9 years 9 months ago

Lets folk about autism increase and lets help these unfortunate children and correct this big mercury poisoning in vacines

6 years 2 months ago

My cancer prevention is a primal diet. If I can’t grow it in my own garden, I won’t eat it.

I avoid mammographies like the plague, never had one, besides there is tons of evidence that the actual mammography is the cause of breast cancer … I don’t consume toxic vegetable oils that would accumulate in my tissue and replace good cells, why should I have to worry.

6 years 2 months ago

Besides, the cure for cancer was already found in 1928 by Dr. Max Gerson.

Cure for ALL cancers.