American Cancer Society: “40% of Cancers Preventable with Lifestyle Changes”

 In Naturopathic News

Node Smith, ND

It’s always great to be validated

This week, research from the American Cancer Society (ACA) supports that 40 percent of all cancers, as well as 50 percent of cancer deaths, can be prevented by “simple lifestyle changes in daily routines.” Now wait a second, that sounds a lot like “you’re naturopathic doctor can help you prevent forty percent of all cancers. And if you have cancer, you’re fifty-percent less likely to die from it if you seek holistic care.”


The study is titled, “Proportion and number of cancer cases and deaths attributable to potentially modifiable risk factors in the United States1.” It was published in CA: Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Roughly 12.7 Million People are Diagnosed each year with Cancer

The report cites that roughly 12.7 million people are diagnosed each year with cancer, and 7.6 million die from cancer annually. These statistics are from 2014. Among the known associations that are cited, cigarette smoking and passive smoking, obesity, excessive consumption of alcohol and red meat, lethargy, a lack of nutritious foods and fiber are all factors that are well within an individual’s power to control. These factors, as well as UV radiation from sunlight, and the 6 infections that lead to cancer (hepatitis B/C, HPV, HIV, H.Pylori, and Epstein Barr), account for 26 different types of cancer in individuals 30 years and older.

Team Analyzed Cancer Deaths and Incidence

The team analyzed cancer deaths and incidence from the CDC and the National Cancer Institute. The presence and absence of risk factors was from nationally representative surveys as well as other sizable studies. The conclusion was that in 2014, there was a 42% association between cancer incidence and preventable risk factors, and a 45% association between cancer deaths and the same risk factors. Cigarette smoking, not surprisingly, was the most dangerous, holding the highest proportion of association – 19.0% cases, and 28.0% of all cancer deaths. Being obese and overweight was second with 7.8% of cases and 6.5% of deaths associated. Excess alcohol consumption was responsible for 5.6% of case and 4% of deaths.


  1. Islami F, Goding sauer A, Miller KD, et al. Proportion and number of cancer cases and deaths attributable to potentially modifiable risk factors in the United States. CA Cancer J Clin. 2017
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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

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