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Why is cancer on the rise & what can we do to prevent it?

On this edition of Your Call, we’re discussing what we can do to prevent cancer. While cancer deaths are falling in the US, new cases are on the rise, from 1.9 million in 2022, to over two million last year, according to the American Cancer Society.

Far too many of those new cases involve younger people. They include breast, prostate, colorectal, and cervical cancer.

A new study from the National Cancer Institute found that Gen-Xers, those born between 1965 and 1980, are projected to experience higher cancer rates than Baby Boomers. Lead author Philip Rosenberg told NPR he was surprised that so many different types of cancer appear to be rising, including thyroid, kidney, rectal, and colon cancers, and leukemia. The findings suggest that based on current trajectories, cancer rates in the US might remain high for decades.

What can we do to reverse this disturbing trend? What's being done to educate the public about prevention? What does the latest science say about lifestyle changes?


Dr. Urvi Shah, myeloma specialist, hematologist-oncologist, assistant attending physician at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Vanita Rahman, internal and lifestyle medicine physician, clinic director of the Barnard Medical Center, certified nutritionist, and former internal medicine doctor at Kaiser Permanente, where she launched a plant-based weight loss program


NPR: As they enter their 60s, Gen Xers projected to see higher cancer rates than Boomers

CNN: Cancer cases in younger people are rising sharply. Here are some preventive measures to take

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Food as Medicine: Why One Doctor Thinks Diet Could Help Control Cancer

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: Doctors Point to Nutrition as Key to Improving Worrisome Cancer Statistics Outlined in New American Cancer Society Report

Fred Hutch Cancer Center: Colorectal cancer risk and red and processed meat

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Research Shows Plant-Based Diets Are Better Than Ketogenic Diets for Cancer Risk and Long-Term Health

Environmental Working Group: Top 5 cancer-causing chemicals to avoid for cancer prevention

ProPublica: EPA Finalizes New Standards for Cancer-Causing Chemicals

Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.