On the topic of cancer prevention

The issue with these sort of stories is that they take pharmaceutical company marketing materials as though they are factual. We’re talking about studies completed behind closed doors by pharmaceutical companies so it is probably better to title the story “Cancer vaccine allegedly shows promise”. There is a long history of these companies saying one thing and then the product not meeting the promises given. This probably goes without saying but the easiest way to reduce your risk of dying of cancer is to reduce your exposure to carcinogens:


isn’t the problem that we have very little control over the carcinogens we are exposed to? some we can avoid, like leaded gasoline, all is quite hard


Yes, it’s definitely difficult but on an individual level you can do the following relatively easily:

  • Eat organic food when possible (especially avoiding highly sprayed foods)
  • Learn about chemicals in body products (many aren’t regulated)
  • Choose home products (flooring, paint, furnishings, etc.) that are certified to be low in carcinogens
  • Avoid moldy environments

Given how much cancer is caused by carcinogens, we could also be lobbying the government to reduce the number released into the environment.

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ah, yes. be born in an middle class home with the ability to do the things you listed. damn it, i should have listened to reason when i was a fetus


Hey - if you get cancer - it’s your fault. /s


Fair enough, not everyone can afford to change their living space but if you’re interested in learning how to lower your exposurs on a budget just Google it. Some simple tips - don’t smoke, don’t drink, use vinegar or peroxide for cleaning your home, use coconut oil and baking soda for deodorant, etc.

Easiest way to insure you’re not exposed to viruses from other people!


like i said, people can do what they’re able however we cannot fix our pre existing nor ongoing exposure. not even just to “unnatural” carcinogens but to natural ones like the sun, and note: skin cancer is exactly what this research targets.

medical research and treatments are key to survival for people affected by cancer. it’s good news that there are new treatments, and a viable vaccine would be a boon for everyone


just don’t drink it!

although, i guess it is a way to avoid cancer… :thinking:


Many natural deodorant makers recommend against using baking soda- it’s too alkaline & abrasive & causes rashes. Especially for people who shave their pits.

But it does clean a pot pretty well.


Avoiding carcinogens is always a good idea but this is melanoma we’re talking about, which definitely has been a problem for people before most modern carcinogens existed. Hippocrates himself described cases of melanoma around 400 BC. Some of the cleanest-living, organic-food-eating vegetarians I know have still had skin cancers.

That said, it is appropriate to temper expectations with these kind of announcements. A 44% reduction in a study this size is statistically significant but not necessarily a huge game-changer.


There are some very well known, very controllable risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, sun exposure, asbestos, a few others. There are lots of much less controllable ones, like genetics (BRCA-1 and 2, Lynch Syndrome, retinoblastoma, many others.) Some are now controllable (HPV vaccine, folks!) But the underlying risk is in having cells dividing imperfectly and accumulating random mutations. I developed rectal cancer that was far more aggressive than it had any right to be, despite having no family history and (generally) doing the right things to stay healthy. I doubt this was your intent, but there are those who use these kinds of statements to blame the patients for their illness. With a few notable exceptions, noted above, you can make all the lifestyle modifications you want without changing your cancer risk very much. Things like this are very exciting, and I am beginning to think that I may live to see the end of cancer as a scourge. That would be fan-fucking-tastic. In the meantime, In the meantime, no, it’s not life choices, it’s life.


You mean my car can breakdown or get a flat even if I follow the maintenance schedule?


Well, I’ll just tell my dead dad and dead aunt that they’re to blame for their deaths… /s

Time for a trip with a chisel to update my dad’s and aunt’s gravestones! /s


Remember, it is better to be rich and healthy, than to be sick and poor!


Almost all carcinogens are an exercise in probabilities. The longer you’re exposed, and the higher the exposure, the higher your chances of developing a cancer. Splash a little gas on your hands once or twice in your life, and it’s no big deal. Work in the construction trades, as a plumber or remodeler who has to deal with asbestos insulation on the job, and you’re looking at really high risks. Work or live near a refinery and you’re looking at lung cancer. Work in the chemical industry, and it’s a roulette wheel of exposure.

What it boils down to is some of us have more money, which allows us to choose to reduce our environmental exposures. Those without money have far less opportunities to make safe choices.

  • Did you know that most general aviation (piston-engine planes) burn 100LL avgas, which contains the same tetra-ethyl-lead as the old leaded gasoline that’s long been banned in cars? If you can only afford to live in one of the noisy houses under the runway, guess what is constantly being exhausted down towards you?
  • Do your kids play in your yard? Is that yard in a cheaper house, next to a noisy, busy intersection, where trucks and cars have applied their brakes to stop for the last 100 years? It’s only the last few decades that brake pads have been replaced with non-asbestos organics, but the previous century of asbestos fibers never evaporated and may still remain in your front yard.
  • Is your family enjoying a nice, safe, expensive new house, or are your kids still teething on the lead painted windowsills and crib rails of the only old apartment you can afford?

I could go on, of course, but the point is clear: only those who can afford to avoid carcinogens do so.

Of course, being without money means you’re also not likely to be on a good insurance plan that will cover the expenses of whatever groundbreaking medicines are available to rich people. A cancer treatment you can’t afford may as well not exist.


As an aside, swabbing with alcohol is a pretty effective deodorant. Most people don’t realize that sweat for the most part doesn’t smell. But bacteria feed on the sebaceous oils and produce waste products which are what smell. Alcohol kills the bacteria, which prevents odor.


I just posted the study from Pubmed. I’m not sure why you think I’m “denying science”. Science has clearly shown which chemicals are carcinogenic so please clarify why avoiding these chemicals is unscientific.

I agree with you, I was only posting the Pubmed link showing that 90-95% of cancer is caused by environmental factors. Of course not all cancers are environmental. My main point is that we should have a healthy amount of scepticism when it comes to pharmaceutical company claims like this. They have too much of a financial conflict to be trustworthy. The science needs to be peer reviewed before anyone gets too excited.

It’s your assumption that everyone has the same set of choices in front of them… or that ONLY people who get exposed to carcinogens BY CHOICE get cancer that’s a problem. It’s not just environmental, it’s a variety of issues at hand, including genetics. I had two aunts get the same kind of breast cancer in the same year. They did not live near each other, and an aunt had gotten the same type of breast cancer years before. We KNOW that breast cancer is not just caused by the environment, but by a genetic dispostion.

So your claim that you can just avoid cancer by “living healthy” is really bullshit. It can play a role in many kinds of cancer, but other things that people can not change (and that includes their environment sometimes!) play a role too, and that matters. Victim blaming people who get and die of cancer isn’t helping here.