Cancer Rates Skyrocket as People Cling to Carcinogenic Habits

Either cancer doesn’t scare people as much as one might expect, or fear is not an effective method for changing behavior, because people are still doing things known to cause cancer. As a predictable result, the rate of preventable cancers is rising. Experts project that over the next 20 years, the number of cases worldwide will shoot up by 70% because people won’t stop smoking, overeating, or consuming animal products and processed foods, and won’t exercise more.

The bad news appears in the World Cancer Report, a World Health Organization (WHO) book that represents the work of some 150 scientists internationally.

The WHO expects that in a couple decades, doctors will be diagnosing 25 million new cancer cases every year. It predicts that the highest concentration of cases will be in the developing world, partly because people there are adopting the bad habits of more affluent countries, and partly because they are living longer, increasing their chances of developing cancer and dying from it.

Lung cancer is the most common and the deadliest type. 80-90 percent of cases are directly attributable to smoking — tobacco causes 30 percent of cancers — meaning they could have been prevented. Another risky habit is eating meat. People who eat red meat regularly are up to 50% more likely to develop colon cancer than others; they are also more likely to die of heart disease. The more red meat people eat, the slimmer their chances of dying peacefully of old age. Processed meat (like bacon and hot dogs) also “increases the risk of death due to colon cancer, other cancers, and heart disease.”

It may be that people are not improving their habits because they don’t realize the risk they are running. A World Cancer Research Fund study that surveyed people in the United Kingdom found that 49% did “not know that diet increases the risk of developing cancer,” the BBC reports. The Fund also found that people greatly overestimate the role that genes play in causing cancer. The group says that at most, ten percent of cancer cases can be traced back to inherited genes.

It may also be that attaining prosperity can be more motivating than avoiding disease is. The growing number of cancer cases is concentrated to the developing world. CNN reported that “more than 60% of the world’s cases and about 70% of the world’s cancer deaths occurred in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.” Large segments of those continents’ populations are only recently able to afford some of the bad habits common in wealthier countries, like eating meat regularly. Sadly, once they can afford to live like Americans and Western Europeans, many do, to the detriment of their health.

Adopting Western ideals doesn’t just sicken and kill humans; it also devastates the planet’s environment. The meat industry is among the biggest polluters and culprits in deforestation, among other ills.

As people around the globe grow more affluent, they would do better to look east for models of happiness or success. Traditions like Buddhism value inner peace over material wealth and consumption, roly-poly Buddha statutes notwithstanding. Ironically, eschewing the West’s burger-snarfing example could make other countries even wealthier, because the cost of treating cancer “is spiraling out of control,” says Chris Wild, director of the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. “Prevention is absolutely critical and it’s been somewhat neglected.”

People the world over need to learn about and act on the science demonstrating that they can prevent cancer by changing their habits.

Photo credit: Attila Barabas


Meris Michaels
Meris Michaels3 years ago

When will health and government authorities stop citing tobacco, alcohol, diet high in meat products, lack of exercise ... as the major causes of cancer - placing responsibility on the individual and his/her lifestyle? It is the toxic substances in our environment and everyday products that is causing 70% of the cancer epidemic, including endocrine disrupting chemicals found in plastics and pesticide residues on foods and exposure to non ionizing radiation emitted by wireless technologies etc.

Ruhee B.
Ruhee B4 years ago

I would say that smoking is the biggest risk and the worse thing is that more and more young people are getting hooked!!! Stupid people just won't listen!

Lynn C.
Lynn C4 years ago


Sherri Simms
Sherri S4 years ago

I agree that poor eating habits can raise ones risk for getting cancer. Unfortunately, most people don't care enough to change their diet. I know it is difficult and I'm not expecting anyone to do a 360, but if you care enough about yourself, it might be wise to alter your habits. I use salt and eat sugary deserts, but I do not eat meat and eat plenty of vegetables and exercise regularly. I'm hoping some of the good food and physical activity, helps balance out the bad food I eat. I don't want to die from cancer, but I don't want to live and not be able to enjoy some of the thing I like either.

Jelena Radovanovic
Past Member 4 years ago

Thank you for the article.

JACarlton Author
jill c4 years ago


If I recall correctly it's somewhere around 3%, and that's ONLY for a 5 year life span after treatment. Many of Burzynski's, Hoxsey's, and Gerson's "clients" lived cancer free for DECADES.

So... research before you open your know-nothing mouth.

JACarlton Author
jill c4 years ago

Jasna R said: "Ah, but of course! This wouldn't be complete without the "Cure exists! But *THEY* hide it from us!!!" nutjob camp."

So you're a pharmaceutical shill huh? Perhaps you should expand your horizons and learn a few things about the AMA and big pharma and one of the laws that they've made here in the states regarding cancer treatment, in fact it's the ONLY law they need to have on the books.

1. it is illegal for a doctor or health care provider to prescribe ANY treatment for ANY kind of cancer other than: RADIATION, CHEMOTHERAPY and/or SURGERY.

A doctor or health care provider can LOSE THEIR LICENSE to practice if they suggest a nutritive alternative to any of the above therapies.

If you think american medicine has got it so right with those three therapies maybe you should read: Ethics in Healing by Dan Haley (might be Healy) - which relays a dozen FACTUAL accounts of various doctors and medical professionals who were RUN OUT OF AMERIKKA by the AMA because they would not stop practicing or GIVING away their CURES for various Cancers.

And while you're at it why don't you look into Dr. Burzynski in Dallas Tx who's been harrassed and forced by the AMA, to defend himself and his anti-neoplaston therapy for over 40 years... ohyeah did I mention he has a CURE rate of over 80%? Cause... yeah, he does... tell me what's the cure rate for people who suffer through the APPROVED therapies? If I recall correctly it's somewhere around 3%, and that's ONLY for a

Gale T.
Gale T4 years ago

We are what we eat.

Donna F.
Donna F4 years ago


June Bostock
June Bostock4 years ago