Kate Middleton's cancer is an exceptional case

A diagnosis of cancer in a young and apparently healthy person like Kate Middleton always strikes the imagination with its illogical and dramatic side. However, we must remember that these are rare cases: most cancers take decades to appear, and in many, their development can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle.

We've all heard of those famous uncles, aunts or other “bon vivants” who grew up smoking their entire lives, while others who didn't indulge in even the tiniest bit got cancer at a young age.

These examples are often the main argument for people not to change their bad lifestyle habits, because they suggest that our destiny is already drawn from birth through heredity and cannot be changed no matter what we do.

However, even if they were real, these extreme cases do not correspond to the reality experienced by the majority of people: they are primarily exceptions.

From a statistical point of view, all events involving large numbers of people present this type of exception. We can think of the results of an exam as an example, where a small number of students get excellent grades, a small group get poor grades, while the majority of students get fair to good results. Well, the grade reflects the level of skill and effort to prepare for the exam.

The same phenomenon applies when looking at the lifespan of individuals in a population: there will always be a small group of lucky people with good genes who will live to old age. Another, more unfortunate, one with a poor genetic prognosis, dies young.

However, for the majority of the population, life expectancy lies between these two extremes and largely depends on the lifestyle choices made.

Cancer primarily affects the elderly

This is especially true when it comes to a complex disease like cancer.

At its core, cancer is a disease caused by faulty genes that tend to accumulate in old age, which is why most cancers affect people 60 and older.

If we observe about 250 cancers per 100,000 people aged 40-45, this number is 2,500 per 100,000 people aged 75-80 or 10 times more.

However, the expression of these procancer genes is strongly influenced by lifestyle in most cases. The dramatic increase in colon cancer among young adults, associated with the obesity epidemic, is a good example of this gene-lifestyle interaction.

It is estimated that 50-70% of cancer deaths can be avoided by following 5 basic prevention rules such as not smoking, maintaining a normal body weight (BMI of 18 to 25), and exercising. A plant-based diet. These are the recommendations of the World Cancer Research Fund and all cancer fighters around the world.

There is bad luck

Obviously, there are always exceptions: some cancer-prone genes are more harmful than others and are expressed in people with optimal lifestyles, and on the contrary, some people win the genetic lottery and never develop cancer. Bad lifestyle habits.

Because we don't know our genetic predispositions, we are all interested in adopting healthy lifestyle habits that can increase our lifespan by differentially modifying this genetic inheritance.

In short, although it is undeniable that cancer is sometimes unfortunate, especially when the disease strikes at a young age, it should not be forgotten that for most people adopting a healthy lifestyle significantly increases their chances of survival. The dreaded disease is the leading cause of death in Canada.

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