The Defy Aging Newsletter

Anti-aging psychology, holistic health, and wellness

a biweekly e-mail newsletter for helping you think, feel, look, and be more youthful and live with purpose.

Number 140

This issue:

Cancer Milestone


Enjoy the good news that the incidence rates of cancer are declining and five year survival rates have passed 50%.


In the 1940's only one of four cancer patients survived five years. In the 1960's survival was one in three. Now it has reached 1 in 2. Meanwhile, incidence rates have been dropped by .5% per year from 1991 to 2001.

Surgeries are often less radical and chemotherapy is often more targeted. This brings a better quality of life for survivors. A few decades ago, the public knew little about cancer beyond it being a "death sentence."

In 1979, Norman Cousins' book described how he used humor to help overcome cancer, alerting people to the role of psychological factors. Now there are thousands of support groups, hundreds of books, and lots of media attention. A decade ago it would have been hard to imagine millions of Today Show viewers watching Katie Couric's colonoscopy on live television. Inspired by her example, the number of colonoscopy exams in the US increased 20% the following month.

A recent American Cancer Society report says that half of all cancers are preventable. Cigarette smoking is the biggest cause of lung cancer, which comprises about a third of cancers in America. Lung cancer has a very poor survival rate. US smoking rates are declining and more businesses are now smoke free. Smoking also contributes to several other types of cancer. Other priority prevention measures include losing weight and testing for breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostrate cancer.

Cancer research shows great promise. The future will soon have genetic testing indicating what medications and treatments are likely to be the most effective. For those who want alternative approaches to treating cancer, the Moss Reports and the Life Extension Foundation offer scientific perspectives on alternative medicine approaches to cancer treatment.

Our nation's two biggest causes of death are cardiovascular diseases and cancer. For both, survival rates are showing substantial improvement.


Show me a patient who is able to laugh and play, who enjoys living and I'll show you someone who is going to live longer. Laughter makes the unbearable bearable.

~Dr. Bernie Siegel


My apologies to not catching the source.

Interviews with cancer survivors included one who described how his oncologist told him and and his parents that he might want to smoke marijuana to help with the nausea and pain from the treatments. This was a dream come true–a doctor telling his parents that he should smoke pot.

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