What I Said at the Vatican About the World’s Efforts to Fight Cancer
Joe Biden (Archives)

Thank you very much for this warm article and your most admirable effort in the war on cancer. The emphasis on prevention is noble. But unlike in the case of heart disease or diabetes, in cancer there is little space for prevention. I know we put great hope in it because prevention suggests knowledge of causation, which in turn addresses our fears and affords a sense of being in control. But the reality is different.

If I may present a very elitist point of view (yes, the elitists lost the election but they also exist and are humans with human concerns, too). Most of cancer patients I have seen (in a metropolitan area) are elitists: They already don’t smoke, they already don’t engage in unprotected promiscuous sex, they already are not obese; and they already exercise and use sunscreen. Yet they have cancer and ask what caused it. Very sad. The emphasis on prevention makes them feel guilty or leaves them in disbelief.

The above list of preventable causes leaves only 5% of cases of cancer that could be prevented proactively: those influenced by food habits (see: http://www.mensfitness.com/life/50-percent-cancer-cases-are-preventable-says-new-report)

5% is very little room for actionability and improvement. But more troubling is the question: what food to eat? what food to avoid? We just don’t know for sure and research remains in conclusive and will be so for a long while:

(via http://www.vox.com/2015/3/23/8264355/research-study-hype)

We need to fundamentally change the way we think about cancer.

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