I have been writing about cancer prevention now for six years (eight, if you were around long enough to recall my blog The Healthy Cookie). And thank goodness, I am not the only one doing so. I am so thankful that, in my lifetime as a nutritionist, this information is finally coming from places outside of this field.
I recently read the following headline in The Guardian: "Worldwide cancer cases expected to soar by 70% over next 20 years."
Cancer cases worldwide are predicted to increase by 70% over the next two decades, from 14m in 2012 to 25m new cases a year, according to the World Health Organization. The latest World Cancer Report says it is implausible to think we can treat our way out of the disease and that the focus must now be on preventing new cases. - The Guardian
Here's what's amazing about this statement: it empowers you to start making changes today. The challenge is that most fundraising initiatives are still focussing on primarily funding the organizations that are pouring money into finding new detection methods and treatment strategies. Of course this is important, but the truth of it is that with prostate cancer, breast cancer and several others, the treatments haven't changed in decades. Not to mention the fact that we're now being told the two so-called most effective screening methods (PSA tests for prostate cancer and mammograms for breast cancer) aren't at all the most reliable.
Movember has shifted its focus slightly this year to be offering 40 per cent of its funding to men's mental health initiatives, which is outstanding. With mental health comes physical health, and vice versa -- this is a key step in prevention.
There was also a recent article from CBC that outlined the number of grants going towards finding new diagnostic strategies that could be 10 to 20 years out from being widely available. Is this missing the mark?
The problem: If cancer rates are expected to rise by 70% in the next 20 years, that means that anywhere from 25 to 40% of our population will be the only ones who DON'T get cancer. Those of us who go through our lives cancer-free will be the minority. That is not okay.
Last month, I offered a list of things we could do as individuals to empower us to create the change needed to shift the focus from diagnosing and treating to prevention initiatives (and I do not consider a cancer vaccine a prevention initiative).
Okay Men, Now It's Your Turn To Do Better
We all know someone whose life has been cut short by cancer. It is excruciating to endure and heartbreaking to watch.
Let’s use our connection to this disease and to others to fuel our desire to find a solution. A solution may not be the same as a ‘cure.’
Let's drink water more often, and most of the time.
Let's stop using cologne, aftershave, and stinky toxic, carcinogenic deodorant. (Note from those of us who love you -- we'd rather have you smell like you and be alive).
Let's ditch the plastic bottles -- that goes for water, soda, and energy drinks. They'll make your testicles shrink and your boobs grow.
Let's ask the organizations we support to support us back, while we're still healthy! What do you want to know about? What do you want to learn about? We fund them with our efforts, let's get what we need in return.
Let's ask those organizations we support to stop partnering with brands that contain the very chemicals that cause the disease we're trying to prevent (that includes beer, chunky meatball tinned food and cosmetic products with hormone-disrupting chemicals).
Let's exercise. Maybe not everyday, but a few times a week.
Let's shvitz (a.k.a sweat) like our grandparents did in the old country. Find a sauna and get in it. If not every week, than at least once a month and sweat out all of those environment toxins.
Let's not rely on other people to take care of our health. We're men here. We're wise, we're powerful, we're strong. Let's also be smart enough to know that our health is our greatest wealth and our own responsibility.
Let's know that mental health, and talking about how you feel with other people, is what makes you a real man. This isn't the 1950s. Talk about it!
Let's eat more organic sources of fat (yes, you can still have your bacon and steak), but ditch the toxic fats from fast food and french fries. Important stuff is made of fat in your body -- everything from your brain to your little swimmers. Let those bad boys swim!
Let's express love! Vitamin L powers up your immune system and fights disease. True story. Be loving. It's easier than being aloof, 'mysterious,' or the other nonsense roles some men feel pressured to play.
Let’s use our connections to cancer to inspire us to understand why the cancer rates are going up, despite the consistently higher amount of money being poured into finding a cure.
Let’s ask our governments to put stricter regulations on the chemicals that are currently being sprayed on our food and used in our personal and home care products.
Let’s demand that the brands we love — cars, technology, and even AstroTurf — find chemical-free ways to manufacture and dispose of their products.
Let’s PLEASE unplug all those room deodorizers and car deodorizers. They are toxic.
Let’s eat vegetables. And maybe, once in a while, even juice some.
Let’s give more to those doing the research who are working to prevent cancer rates from going up.
Let’s think more about the causes and work to reduce them.
Let's cut sugar out, at least for one month. Cancer cells feed on sugar, so while you're growing your moustache, don't feed the cancer that exists in all of our bodies.
Let's make noise about this. Prevention strategies are available, and cancer-causing chemicals are used everyday in government-approved products.
Let's do everything we can to make our homes chemical free to prevent cancer in our children and in ourselves.
Let's do more than grow moustaches, go to parties, and raise money.
Let's love to pieces those who have it, those who've survived and those we've lost.
Let's never forget how this disease has affected each of us individually.
And most of all -- let's not get cancer.
More Cancer Prevention Inspiration