Why 41% of Americans will be Diagnosed with Cancer at Some Time in their Lives and What You Can do About it. Latest Report from the President's Cancer Panel

A report by the President’s Cancer Panel, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now was published in April 2010 This latest annual report, for 2008–2009, was written by Suzanne H. Reuben for the cancer panel and published by the National Cancer Institute.
Why will 41%  of Americans will be Diagnosed with Cancer at Some Time in their Lives?  Check out these Highlights from a new report on the Environmental Causes of Cancer
  • A growing body of research documents a myriad of established and suspected environmental factors linked to genetic, immune, and endocrine [hormonal] dysfunction that can lead to cancer and other diseases.
  • Air emissions from vehicles, particularly from burning diesel fuel, are responsible for about 30 percent of cancer resulting from air pollution. “Diesel engine exhaust from school buses is of special concern because many children are exposed to it on a daily basis,” the report says.
  • Americans now are estimated to receive half of their total [ionizing] radiation exposure from medical imaging [especially computed tomography scans]. … People who receive multiple scans or other tests that require radiation may accumulate doses equal to or exceeding that of Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors.” “The public,” the report says, “is largely unaware of the radiation doses delivered by [computed tomography], positron emission testing, and other examinations that involve ionizing radiation, or of potential lifetime medical radiation dose and associated cancer risk.
  • Radon exposure is the second most common cause of lung cancer in the United States and “the leading cause of lung cancer among people who have never smoked.” Approximately 21,000 deaths annually are attributable to radon-induced lung cancer. (People who smoke and are exposed to radon have an increased risk of cancer.)
  •  Residents of the Marshall Islands developed cancer from exposure to radiation from U.S. nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific from 1946 to 1958, and “the U.S. has not met its obligation to provide for ongoing health needs” of those people.
  • Funding by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences for cancer-related environmental research has “remained flat” since fiscal year 1999.
  • Conventional scientific thinking holds that the likelihood of increased cancer risk occurs with an increasing dose of carcinogens. However, low doses of endocrine disruptors have health effects that contribute to the development of cancer.
  • Poor people are more likely to be exposed to carcinogens than other populations because they tend to work in such jobs as mining, construction, manufacturing, agriculture and some service industries. Further, the poor are more likely than others to live in highly contaminated environments.
  • “EPA estimated that in 2001, ocean-going ships emitted more than 54,000 tons of fine particulate matter, equivalent to the pollution from 117 coal-fired power plants; approximately 745 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides, comparable to the emissions from 800 million new cars.”
  • “Approximately 87 million people live in … ports and coastal areas. Moreover, emissions from [ocean-going] ships can travel hundreds of miles inland, affecting many millions more.”
  • The military is responsible for much of the carcinogenic chemical and radioactive discharges in the U.S., including perchlorate, tricholoroethylene, perchlororethylene, Agent Orange (dioxins), chromium and radiation exposure from nuclear weapons testing and manufacturing. The people affected are uranium miners, millworkers, ore transporters, “downwinders” and other communities near nuclear test sites, nuclear power and weapons plants, and uranium mines and mills.
Look I can just hear some of you out there saying, "Oh and the sky is falling too!  Stop living your life in fear of everything! Gimme' a break." and that is fine.  For the rest of you out there, I hope you find this info as helpful as I have.  You never know, a bus could hit me tomorrow and splattered my guts all over the road, leaving my kids motherless.  On the other hand, just because I might die tomorrow, doesn't mean I am going to. 

Not all of us, other than my poor husband, have had someone tell us when we are going to die.  So regardless of unhealthy vices that might hold us back from living perfectly healthy lives, or chances that we might unexpectedly die of some horrific accident, doesn't it make sense to do what we can to live as long as we can?  Find out the why behind cancer and then act on as many of the ways to reduce risks as you see fit for your life. 
    What You can do to Reduce Risks
    • The report devotes considerable space to what individuals can do to reduce their Environmental Cancer Risk, dividing the subject into three parts: children, chemical exposures and radiation.
    • Fetuses, infants, young children and adolescents are especially sensitive and can undergo genetic or other damage resulting from environmental exposures to the mother and the father even before conception.
    • Parents and child care providers should screen children’s toys, foods, house and garden products, play spaces, medicines and medical tests “that will minimize children’s exposure to toxics.
    • There are ways for individuals to reduce or eliminate exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace. People exposed to occupational carcinogens can reduce their families’ exposure by removing shoes upon entering the house and washing work clothes separately from other laundry.
    • Filtering tap or well water is another act individuals can take. The report stresses that unless the tap water is known to be contaminated, people should choose it over bottled water. As the report puts it, “Some bottled water is simply drawn from municipal supplies and receives no additional filtration or other treatment.”
    • In bottled water, one study found caffeine, two carcinogens, acetaminophen, arsenic, radioactive isotopes, nitrates and nitrites (from pesticide residue), solvents, degreasing agents and propellants.
    • Individuals also can store and carry water in stainless steel, glass or other containers free of BPA, an endocrine disruptor, and phthalates. Avoid plastic containers, from which chemicals can leach into the water.
    • Microwaving food and beverages in ceramic or glass instead of plastic will reduce exposure to chemicals that can leach into the food from plastic containers.
    • Avoid using lawn pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and eat food free of pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics.
    • To reduce your exposure to toxics in household products, consult the Household Products Database, operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    • Properly dispose of pharmaceuticals, paints and household chemicals to avoid contamination of drinking water.
    • Turn off lights and electrical devices that derive power from burning fossil fuels. Drive less, and walk, bicycle and use public transportation more.
    • Avoid smoking and second-hand cigarette smoke.
    • No one has determined whether electromagnetic energy is carcinogenic, so play it safe by using a headset with your cell phone and using the phone minimally.
    • Periodically have your house checked for radon, and don’t buy one that hasn’t been inspected.
    • To reduce exposure to [ionizing] radiation from medical sources, patients should discuss with their health care providers the need for medical tests or procedures that involve radiation exposure.
    • Make sure, with computed tomography or another radiation-using procedure, that the benefits outweigh the risks; procedures that don’t use radiation might provide the same information.
    • Try to keep track of the medical radiation you’re exposed to, and discuss it with your health care provider before you undergo a test or procedure that uses radiation.
    • Avoid exposure to sunlight, which is composed of ultraviolet radiation, associated with skin cancer.
    • Support research into the effects of exposure of combinations of chemicals, not as they are studied today, as individual chemicals in isolation from others. Real-life exposure usually consists of multiple chemicals.
    • Support the use of “green” chemicals, or safe alternatives to carcinogenic chemicals, and insist that they undergo study with the Precautionary Principle to discern whether they’re truly green.

    P.S.- I am really glad that you stopped by our Environmental Booty Blog and I hope you have learned or shared a thing or two.  I hope that , now that you've found us,  you won't lose us!  You can join our green living online community, subscribe to our posts download our community toolbar or Tweet with me on Twitter to stay in touch!  - Shane :)

    Source:  The Bloomington Alternative

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    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead