Statistics, Random Facts and Truly Bizarre Information on Cancer

Ever feel the need to come to a place where you could find out answer to your questions about the most common types of cancer, your queries if animals can accurately assess those who have the disease, your wonderings about the impact of maple syrup on cancer prognosis–and your deep interest in how beer might cure brain cancer?

Well, you probably never did–but you’ve found the place anyway. Enjoy your stay:

Statistics, Random Facts and Truly Bizarre Information on Cancer

Predictions are that about 1,638,910 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2012.

Cancer is the single most feared illness in the developed world, although it is only the second leading cause of death.

Dogs–this is for real–can reliable detect lung, breast,  cancer, bowel, ovarian, bladder, prostate and skin cancer.

One of the most famous people to die of oral cancer was also the man who gave us the concept of the ‘oral fixation,’ none other than Sigmund Freud himself.

The most common type of cancer is, somewhat surprisingly to many people, skin cancer.

Owning a pet can reduce a person’s chances of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by nearly a third, according to one study.

Excluding skin cancer, the most common types of cancer, in descending order, are lung, prostate, breast, colon and rectal cancers, and bladder cancer.

The most common cause of cancer deaths (for women, too, despite some misperceptions) is lung cancer. In 2010 the number of deaths from lung cancer was greater than the number of deaths from prostate, breast, and colon and rectal cancers combined.

As much as 20% of people diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked, and the majority of the remaining numbers are former–not current–smokers.

In a much-appreciated irony, the first owner of the Marlboro Company did indeed die of lung cancer.

If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, you want to find yourself in America. Your chances of being alive five years later are best in the United States, where 90.5% of the patients survive to that benchmark. Canada, Japan and France are the next best places to have the disease, statistically speaking. There seem to be no votes for Zimbabwe.

Men are not immune from breast cancer. A man’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.

The youngest known survivor of breast cancer is named Aleisha Hunter, and hails from Ontario, Canada. Diagnosed at the age of 3, Aleisha underwent a complete mastectomy  to treat her virulent form of the illness.

Should you decide to get a mammogram every year for 10 years, your chances of having a “false positive” finding are a whopping 50%.

Want to fight cancer? Eat–a watermelon? Watermelons have a nutrient called Lycopene, which neutralizes free radicals and thus reduces the incidence of certain cancers, especially prostate, breast, lung, and uterine cancers.

In the classic Love Story (made even more famous with Al Gore’s wonderfully un-ironic claim that the novel was about his and his wife’s relationship), the female protagonist is dying of leukemia. The man who played the role against her in the film, Ryan O’Neal, was diagnosed in 2001 with the same type of cancer.

Screening for lung cancer via X-ray may not be all it’s touted up to be. 95% of those with “positive findings” on x-rays did not, in fact, have lung cancer.

An entire entity has formed around the rallying cry, “I hate breast cancer awareness.”

For no reason that anyone can discern, cancer is statistically more likely to develop in the left breast than in the right.

In a report published by the  American Association for Research on Cancer that many men will love, it seems that “moderate” wine consumption reduces the risk of lung cancer in men by 60%. (I don’t know how women got shafted be getting left out of this study, but I’m sure what’s good for the goose. . .or however that goes.)

In a world where wacky claims for cures for cancer abound, one of the odder ones is by Jim Kelumn, a nearly-eighty-year-old former truck driver who has been preparing his remedy for cancer sufferers since 1954. He’s treated 200 terminal cancer patients, and claims that 185 of them lived for at least a further 15 years.  His cure? Maple syrup and baking powder.

And to leave you with something truly deep to ponder. . .

A study published under the wonderfully inscrutable title entitled “Xanthohumol Induces Apoptosis in Human Malignant Glioblastoma Cells by Increasing Reactive Oxygen Species and Activating MAPK Pathways” (really) indicates that drinking beer can do its part in curing brain cancer.

Here’s mud [and maple syrup] in your eye!


I help adults and adolescents through the particular struggles of our time: tension between couples, parenting frustration, blending new families, separation and divorce, (un)employment, cancer, and loss. When relationships come to an impasse, I use mediation techniques to try to ensure that each party will have his/her needs heard and accounted for in a dignified way. In addition to talking, listening, and reframing, I utilizes the tools of metaphor, active teaching, role-playing, visualization, and hypnotherapy.for families and businesses, as well as in cases of divorce.

Leave a Reply