Where can I find studies/research showing that cancer is a modern day disease of affluence and isn't just a disease of old age?

Answered on May 23, 2016
Created May 21, 2016 at 7:29 PM

Recently I got into a debate with a bunch of people on twitter about cancer. Their claim was that it's simply a disease of old age, and the only reason there was less of it back in the day, and way back in the history of mankind, is because so many people were dying at a younger age, and if they simply lived longer more would die of cancer. I said while that last part may be true, it doesn't explain the exponential increase in cancer rates over the past century, and that cancer is much more prevalent among cultures that have a western diet and lifestyle.

They had no answer for this, but I couldn't find any studies to back this up. Can anyone provide me with some?

Also, I wanted to find studies showing all the evidence that a bad diet is one of the reasons why cancer rates have skyrocketed in this country, but I couldn't find those either.

Lastly, I want to find research showing the mechanism of how excess sugar can cause cancer, and maybe some studies showing the link between the increase in sugar intake in America and the rise of cancer.

Basically, I want to show that cancer is a modern disease of affluence, which everything I've read and studied suggests it is. Any information you could provide would be much appreciated.

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2 Answers

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on May 23, 2016
at 01:57 AM

Here's an interesting take by Guyenet.


Paleos did not live long enough see old age, and the causes of mortality started to shift with increases in lifespan in the neolithic. So it wouldn't be too surprising that cancer is a modern day disease. However, the relation to affluence isn't straightforward. Living in a cloud of smoke would have been common for everyone.

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