The cancer conundrum
That brings us to the wisdom of Framingham. Except for tobacco use, can healthy people figure out and reduce their risk of cancer? The answer is: That's not so easy. Just last week, the government's National Toxicology Program updated its congressionally mandated list of human carcinogens, a list now at 246 that is by no means inclusive. It cites female hormones but not testosterone; many life-saving medications, which are not exactly optional; sunlight; alcoholic beverages in almost any flavor or dose; and a slew of chemicals at home or work. New additions this year include medical and dental X-rays, chemicals formed during high-temperature cooking of meats and eggs, and the widely circulating pathogens hepatitis B and C and 11 forms of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus. Though the list is a composite of everyday dangers, it's hard for any individual to know how to modify them--short of getting to a sackcloth-and-ashes nunnery. (Oops, forget that; ashes are on the list, too.)
There is much to do before cancer relinquishes its new title of disease-in-chief--but we know it can be done.