The Truth about the causes of cancer

15 ways to prevent cancer

The Truth about the causes of cancer - and how it’s not all ’your fault
This article looks at the continuing claims that cancer is your own fault - and exposes the falacy and naivity of that arguement, listing many of the possible causes. It also looks at the poor record of Government and cancer charities in prevention.
1. Cancer in the UK its your own fault?

While incidence rates for some cancers have fallen over the past decade, others are rising and many of these cases could be prevented if people avoided excessive sun exposure, smoking and obesity and limited their alcohol intake. So says the spokesperson for Cancer Research UK after the charity produced the latest round of data on the growth of cancer in Britain. The full Press Release from CRUK (August 8th 2007) is repeated below.

Now, of course, this statement is factually accurate. However the implications of the Press Release were not lost on Britain’s leading Medical Journal, The Daily Mail. Quoting the research on Thursday August 9th, the tabloid lead with the front page headline ’The Cancer Generation’ and the opening paragraphs:

’Binge drinking, reckless sunbathing and overeating are fuelling a massive rise in cancer, experts warned yesterday. In a shocking report, they laid bare the deadly consequences of increasingly hedonistic modern lifestyles’.

Continuing the theme they added,Cancer Research UK, which compiled the figures, said up to half of all deaths could be avoided by the use of common sense and the headline on the continuation page of Deadly Indulgence.

2. The Press Release

New statistics from Cancer Research UK reveal steep rises in cancers linked to excessive sun exposure, alcohol, smoking and obesity.
Rates of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, have risen by over 40 per cent in the past decade, making it the fastest rising cancer in the UK.  Incidence of mouth, womb, and kidney cancers has also shown rapid increases in the last 10 years. 
Cancer Research UK is worried about the increases as some cases of these cancers are potentially avoidable.  Research suggests that around half of all cancers could be prevented by changes to lifestyle. 
The good news is that rates of cervical cancers are falling as a result of the national screening programme and thanks to successful smoking cessation campaigns, lung cancer rates are continuing to decrease, especially in men.
The figures published by Cancer Research UK and the UK Association of Cancer Registries (UKACR) found that although rates of malignant melanoma are higher in women and have doubled since the mid-80s, rates have tripled in men in the same period.  Heavy sun exposure accounts for the vast majority of cases.
Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of health information said: We’re very concerned that cases of malignant melanoma are spiralling.  Exposure to UV radiation in sunlight is the main cause of skin cancer.  Most cases of this disease could be prevented if people protected themselves in the sun and took care not to burn.
Mouth cancer rates have increased by almost a quarter over the last decade.  Sara Hiom said: Most cases of mouth cancer occur in people who smoke or chew tobacco and regularly drink alcohol.  As well as encouraging people to reduce their risk of mouth cancer, our priority is to raise awareness of the early warning signs of the disease, as this helps doctors find cancers at an early stage when treatment is easier and there is a good chance of a cure.
Over the last 10 years womb cancer rates have increased by over 20 per cent.  It is unclear exactly what causes womb cancer, but there are some things that are known to increase a woman’s risk.  Overweight and obese women are twice as likely to develop womb cancer as women of a healthy weight. This is due to higher than normal exposure to the hormone oestrogen and postmenopausal women who are overweight or obese tend to have higher levels of oestrogen in their bodies.
Rates of kidney cancer have increased by more than 10 per cent over the past decade with smoking and being overweight two of the major risk factors for this disease.  Scientists believe smoking doubles the risk of kidney cancer but suggest that the risk of developing the disease falls when people give up smoking. 
Lucy Morrish, statistical information manager at Cancer Research UK, who compiled the figures, said: While incidence rates for some cancers have fallen over the past decade, others are rising and many of these cases could be prevented if people avoided excessive sun exposure, smoking and obesity and limited their alcohol intake.  Our Reduce the Risk campaign actively encourages people to learn how they can lead healthier lives and cut their risk of developing cancer.

Sara Hiom added: Everyone can help reduce their risk of cancer by avoiding smoking, keeping a healthy body weight, eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and fibre and taking regular exercise.  Enjoying the sun safely and avoiding sunburn also helps to reduce cancer risk and we encourage people to get to know their bodies and see their doctor if they notice anything unusual and attend screening when invited. 

10 year incidence percentage change selected cancers
10 YEARS 1995-2004 UK   

 Type of Cancer 

  10 year % CHANGE 

(based on European age-standardised rates per 100,000)

 Number of newly diagnosed cases


  Number of newly diagnosed cases


  % of all cancers


 Malignant Melanoma


Uterus (womb)


















The full incidence report is available from:

3. The Growing Cancer Epidemic

The Daily Mail Recorded the following

Type of Cancer                             New cases 2004                   Increase since 1995
Melanoma                                             8,939                                      43.2%
Prostate                                              34,986                                       38.9%
Mesothelioma                                       2,167                                       33.5%
Liver                                                    2,867                                        33.4%
Oral                                                     4,769                                        22.7%
Womb                                                 6,438                                        21.3%
Kidney                                                 7,044                                       13.7%
Breast                                                44,659                                       10.9%
Non H Lymphoma                                 10,003                                      10.4%
Oesophagael                                        7,654                                        3.7%

4. The Whole Truth

Few things make me more angry than the implication that somehow developing cancer is ’Totally your Fault’. Even though Cancer Research spokespeople undoubtedly chose their words carefully (many of these cases could be prevented if people avoided excessive sun exposure, smoking and obesity and limited their alcohol intake) the implications were all to clear to journalists at the Daily Mail. Your hedonistic lifestyle is giving you cancer it’s your own fault.

In my view, saying ’Obesity causes cancer’ (As well as womb cancer, obesity is linked to post-menopausal breast cancer, colonic cancer, bile duct cancer and pancreatic cancer) is a bit like saying ’cars cause death on UK roads’. Or ’Guns cause death in schools’. ’Linked to’ there is no doubt. But cause? What tosh is this?

Four points are worth making clearly all can be backed up by research on our web site, mainly in Cancer Watch.

1 Cancer Rates have doubled in the last thirty years in the UK. Some cancers (for example, some child cancers, have more than trebled)
2 Cancer is a ’modern disease’ US research amongst skeletons in Croatia showed no signs of it before 100 years ago.
3 The 4 Pillars of Cancer are Poor Diet, Toxins, Disease and Mental State.
4 Only rarely does one factor ’cause’ a cancer. More usually it is a combination of factors some direct on the DNA of a cell, many indirect weakening your immune system and allowing a cancer to take hold rather than being eliminated.

In one or two places in the report there is mention of ’Oestrogen’. And there was mention that mesothelioma is ’linked’ to exposure to asbestos, liver cancer to Hepatitis B and C. But genuine ’causes’ were few and far between.

’Lung cancer rates’, says The Mail, ’are continuing to decrease, especially in men, as more and more smokers kick the habit. Unaware of the non-sequitur, they also say that Kidney cancer, which is more common in smokers, is on the increase’, as are mouth cancers where ’Most cases occur in those who smoke or chew tobacco and regularly drink alcohol’.

Smoking is a good place to start. Only recently in icon we covered the Canadian research showing that a third of all lung cancers now had absolutely nothing to do with smoking and this was actually growing in younger women. Another studied has identified that some lung cancers are driven by localised oestrogen, the female sex hormone. Is this an indication of why younger women are getting more lung cancer without exposure to cigarette smoke? 

Well, we do know that in US research checking air pollution the two biggest polluters are Formaldehyde and Dichlorobenzene. The research showed that levels of these were far greater in humans than levels of benzene and out door pollutants.

Formaldehyde - in everything from shampoos to personal care products, and cleaners to carpet glues and chipboard.

Dichlorobenzene - its the prime ingredient in those smelly things people put in their homes and loos!

Both are recognised carcinogens - and formaldehyde is linked to ...... lung cancer.

Other possible contributory factors linked to lung cancer include Radon, and diesel fumes toxins collect on dust particles, especially in the home, and are breathed in. We have also covered research that shows some lung cancers are ’oestrogen driven’.

Let’s return to the press release - and to Womb cancer Obese and overweight women are twice as likely to develop the disease. This is blamed ON HIGHER THAN NORMAL LEVELS OF THE FEMALE HORMONE OESTROGEN IN THE BODIES OF WOMEN WHO ARE OVERWEIGHT’. Would it surprise you to know that the drug Tamoxifen is also linked to increased levels of womb cancer as are drugs such as HRT?

Let’s turn to"Melanoma the most dangerous form of skin cancer is up by 43% in 10 years as warnings to stay out of the sun are ignored. Apparently, Exposure to ultraviolet radiation in Sunlight is the main cause of skin cancer. Again, we have covered research in icon showing this cancer too is oestrogen driven. And not surprisingly then, other research that a woman exposing herself to the sun has twice the risk of her identical twin if she is also on the contraceptive pill.

What is usually true for the pill is often found to be true for HRT. Our middle class woman (the highest risk area) is simply adding synthetic oestrogen to her body. Do you realise that the largest contributor to lowering death from breast cancers in the USA is not screening and better drugs, as the health groups and charities tell you? No, it was a massive 7 per cent drop in one year in the number of cases, when fearful women stopped taking HRT. Has your cancer charity told you that in the press?t

With melanoma, you can also rub in chemicals in your sun-cream that will heighten your localised oestrogen levels via xeno-oestrogens. Parabens is a known xenoestrogen and PABA has been banned by some Scandanavian countries. Then perfumes can contain toluene and other xenoestrogens.

Bisphenol A is another xenoestrogen. Banned in Canada, and in kids products in California, you can find it present in babbies bottles, dummies, white can liners and most plastic toys in a high street store near you.

Did I say dummies?

The Reach Project in Europe tried to have other chemicals that might be carcinogens or oestrogen mimics in our toiletries, household cleaners, personal care products etc banned. Euro MP’s agreed and voted for the Bill, but Euro-Ccommissioners who were lobbied heavily by large chemical companies weakened and did not actually pass it. Frustrated by similar tactics in the USA, Schwarzeneger in California aims to lead the way and is looking at banning a host of chemicals known to copy oestrogen in the body for example Toluene (in some nail polishes and perfumes, DEHP (in some perfumed products), Phthalates (from certain plasticisers in bottles), BPA (in white can linings and babies bottles) and many more. Oh, and those other ingredients in sun-creams that turn male fish off the Californian coast female, such is their xeno-oestrogen content.

Did I mention Chemicals then? There is a stack of quality research that shows increased risks from chemicals, and herbicides, and pesticides to certain cancers for example children’s tissue cancers, leukaemia, even brain tumours. One such cancer is Kidney cancer.

The Daily Mail and CRUK say, ’Kidney cancer, which is much more common  in smokers and the overweight, is also on the rise. But go to the Top US Cancer Sites they will tell you that kidney cancer can be caused by drugs, asbestos, cadmium, lead, caffeine and large doses of painkillers

Did I mention Drugs then? Only recently we covered US research in icon that concluded after heart attacks, ’Properly prescribed Prescription Drugs were now the second largest cause of death in the USA having risen 68 per cent in 5 years. The New York Presbyterian Hospital reports that 28 per cent of all admissions are now due to people taking cocktails of drugs. I couldn’t find this mentioned in the CRUK report.

They also recently reported that oral and throat cancers amongst the 40 year age group had risen significantly. They blamed alcohol and the HPV virus (!) but were puzzled because smoking is in decline. At CANCERactive, readers are not puzzled - we reported on research from Melbourne that showed five fold increases amongst smopkers and drinkers who used alcohol based mouthwashes! I couldnt find that mentioned in the report either.

5. Charities and Governments

I can just imagine the conversations going on around our Government tables.

We issue a speeding ticket and three penalty points to a young mum doing 36 miles per hour in a 30 limit, because it could endanger her life and those of others. She gets a hefty fine and points on her licence. If she does it 4 times she’ll be banned from driving. Why can’t we do the same for cigarettes and alcohol?

But we can’t ban cigarettes, or alcohol. We get trillions in tax from them.

Perhaps we could tax them much more highly put on a Health Tax? No it will lose too many votes.

Perhaps we can stop treating the overweight in hospitals? We’ve tried that and they took us to the Human Rights Court.

Perhaps we could tax holidays in the sun. We do that already.

Oh well, we tried.

Vested Interests

Then of course, there is lobbying and vested interests. If you have taken 22 billion selling phone licences to a few mobile phone firms it cant be too sensible to immediately question whether they were really a danger to little children. The UK Government has made little critcal comment on mobile phones, masts, WiFi. Yet IARC has shown that these ’radiations’ might lower factors like melatonin, and has said that lack of sleep causes a depletion in melatonin too - and this is associated with a higher risk of cancer, because melatonin balances your oestrogen levels and is a powerful antioxidant.

What about Pesticides (the UK Government doesnt even mention pesticides in the White Paper on Cancer). Or Dairy (yet Karolinska and US research have repeatedly warned on the increased risks of cancers with increased dairy and therefore the hormone IGF-1 for years.) The UK farmers would have ’words’. French farmers would blockade the roads.

But who makes the cosmetics containing formaldehyde, the personal care products with parabens, the perfumed products containing toluene, the plastic ducks and babies bottle containing PABA, the alcohol-containin mouthwashes, the pesticides like DDT being sprayed on your green beans from Thailand or Kenya? Some of the very same companies that are working with your Government and cancer charity developing highly expensive drugs to cure the disease. Its great work if you can get it. You provide the cause - and the solution.

Yes, we all know how professional politicians operate. But it is so desperately sad that the doctors and scientists working in the cancer charities dont blow the warning whistle more - people tell me that they would simply lose their jobs.

The Government is disarray

It is true that obese people get more cancers. An obese woman who smokes loses 13 years off her life expectancy according to US research. She is less likely to exercise, her fat stores toxins she would do better to excrete, and her oestrogen levels are higher. But there are so many other factors that expert research has shown increases your oestrogen levels without being fat certain pesticides, chemicals, drugs, electronic smog, dairy to name but a few. Where is the Precautionary information on these?? From the charities, and especially from the people’s Government?

Worse, even with their identified ’causes’ of cancer, matters are hardly being ’taken in hand’. Over the last decade, our schoolchildren play less sport at school, have less sports fields, and only have healthy school meals because Jamie Oliver led a personal crusade.

So the Government is in an absolute pickle on this whole subject, hidebound with vested interests, worried about votes, even funding and meanwhile seems to be moving backwards.

But I don’t really understand the rhetoric from the leading charities. Surely charities only have one focus: You, the person in the street helping you prevent cancer or, if you get it, laying out all the possible things you need to know to help you beat it. Why can they not urge caution on chemicals, drugs, pesticides, electronic smog, dairy etc? They should have no lobbies, no vested interests. And only your best interests and knowledge at heart.

Meanwhile still only 30 pence in every hundred pounds is spent on prevention, and a lot of that is on screening much of which merely tells you earlier that you have the disease.

6. Where is our Nationwide Prevention Strategy?

It is simply not enough to say Cut alcohol, smoking, burning in the sun and being fat. It’s your lifestyle you make the changes.

Where is the in-school education? We at CANCERactive did try but we couldn’t get a grant because it is being done already. TWADDLE.

Where are the user-friendly programmes, the TV advertisements, yes, and even the taxes. What is the PLAN?

And then, what of the other 50 per cent the stuff the Government and charities like CRUK seem to ignore. We have more than enough expert research to attach ’Precautionary labels’ to Phones, Masts, WiFi, certain chemicals, pesticides, many drugs, HRT, the contraceptive pill, yes, and even dairy.

When are we going to end the denial. When are we going to ’get a grip’ on this problem? In twenty years cancer is forecast to double again. 3 million cancer patients out of a 66 million population in the UK. Is this what they want?

7. Yo can empower yourself?

Be clear, be very clear. There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing a cancer and good diet, exercise, maintaining a controlled normal to low weight, not smoking, watching your alcohol intake and not burning in the sun are factors. But many, many possible contributory factors are not ’Your Fault’ although if you have the information you can empower yourself to cut many of those factors out of your life too.

Personally I hardly use a mobile phone, won’t live near power cables or masts, won’t touch dairy, won’t smoke, won’t live in a building that is ’WiFi’ed, I sleep regularly, take supplements, exercise every day, control my weight, like the sun but don’t burn, don’t use sun-cream, buy from a local organic farmer, won’t touch a drug etc etc. Is this a drain or a drag? Not at all. It’s just a part of my natural life it really is so easy to change habits.

However, do I think I won’t get cancer as a result. No. Sadly, I think that there is a real chance I will, but it won’t be my fault - it could be brought on by anything from a virus to unseen electromagnetic force to mercury in a vaccine.

Of course that’s where CANCERactive comes in. I found out so much when trying to help my daughter. Now I’m sent information from all over the World daily so I know that Japan has banned Formaldehyde while we carry on using it in a variety of toiletry products; and California is banning BPA in children’s toys; or the French Senate wants to ban mobile phone use in schools; or Taiwan has ordered the removal of 1500 phone masts ’for health reasons including cancer’. It’s all been in research in Cancer Watch. And all that information and more is available on this web site.

Well, someone needs to tell you the truth.

CANCERactive. Intelligent Information. Independent Voice.

15 ways to prevent cancer
CancerAcitve Logo
Subscribe (Free e-Newsletter)

Join Chris'

Join Chris' NewsletterSignup today for free and be the first to get notified on new updates.