World News and Trends: Modern living causes cancer

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Modern living causes cancer

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Years ago it was sometimes sarcastically said that living causes cancer. While that's not accurate, it is true that many aspects of modern lifestyles do cause cancer. According to London's Evening Standard, "Cancer Research UK . . . said up to half of all deaths from the disease could be avoided by the use of common sense" (Aug. 8, 2007).

The organization notes some dangerous trends:

The most dangerous form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, is up 43 percent over a decade ago as people ignore warnings to stay out of the sun.

Liver cancer, linked to excessive alcohol intake, is up 33 percent.

Cases of mouth cancer, often associated with alcohol consumption and with smoking and chewing tobacco, have increased almost 25 percent.

Uterine cancer, linked to obesity, increased by a fifth. Rates of this form of cancer are double among overweight women compared to those of a healthy weight.

Kidney cancer, much more prevalent in smokers and the obese, is up 14 percent.

The director of Britain's National Obesity Forum, Colin Waine, said: "These figures just go to show the wide-reaching ramifications of obesity, which go way beyond diabetes, heart disease and stroke to several sitespecific cancers. As well as womb cancer, obesity has been linked to postmenopausal breast cancer, colonic cancer, bile duct cancer and pancreatic cancer. These figures can only get worse if we fail to halt the obesity epidemic."

Frank Soodeen, campaigns manager at the British agency Alcohol Concern, said: "The Government estimates that 5,000 people a year die from cancers attributable to alcohol. It's another reminder to stay within safe drinking limits if at all possible to minimise health risks." (Source: Evening Standard [ London].)

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