Nearly half of US cancer deaths blamed on unhealthy behavior

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 12:29 PM
Updated: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 12:28 PM


            FILE - In this April 21, 2015, file photo, a patron smokes a cigarette inside a bar in New Orleans hours before a smoking ban takes effect in bars, gambling halls and many other public places such as hotels, workplaces, private clubs and stores. Cigarette smoking, over-eating and other unhealthy behaviors can be blamed for nearly half of U.S. cancer deaths each year, according to a new American Cancer Society study released Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
FILE - In this April 21, 2015, file photo, a patron smokes a cigarette inside a bar in New Orleans hours before a smoking ban takes effect in bars, gambling halls and many other public places such as hotels, workplaces, private clubs and stores. Cigarette smoking, over-eating and other unhealthy behaviors can be blamed for nearly half of U.S. cancer deaths each year, according to a new American Cancer Society study released Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

A new look at cancer in the U.S. finds that nearly half of cancer deaths are caused by smoking, poor diet and other unhealthy behaviors.

That's less than commonly-cited estimates from more than 35 years ago, a result of new research methods and changes in American society. Smoking rates have plummeted, for example, while obesity rates have risen dramatically.

The study found that 45 percent of cancer deaths and 42 percent of diagnosed cancer cases could be attributed to what the authors call "modifiable" risk factors. These are risks that are not inherited, and mostly the result of behavior that can be changed, like exposure to sun, not eating enough fruits and vegetables, drinking alcohol and, most importantly, smoking.

A British study conducted in 1981 attributed more than two-thirds of cancer deaths to these factors.

The study used 2014 data and was conducted by the American Cancer Society. It was published online Tuesday in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

"We thought it was time to redo those estimates," said Dr. Otis Brawley, the cancer society's chief medical officer and one of the study's authors.

Smoking was the leading risk by far, accounting for 29 percent of deaths. Excess body weight was next at 6.5 percent, and alcohol consumption was third at 4 percent.

The authors ran separate calculations for different types of cancer by age group and gender to try to account for how risk factors affect different groups of people, then added them together to understand the national picture.

Among the findings:

— Smoking accounted for 82 percent of lung cancers.

— Excess body weight was associated with 60 percent of uterine cancers and about one-third of liver cancers.

— Alcohol intake was associated with 25 percent of liver cancers in men and 12 percent in women; 17 percent of colorectal cancers in men and 8 percent in women; and 16 percent of breast cancers in women.

— Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight or tanning beds was associated with 96 percent of skin cancers in men and 94 percent in women.

Richard Clapp, a professor emeritus of environmental health at Boston University expects the new numbers to be will widely cited and used to make decisions about how to spend money on cancer prevention, just as the influential British study from 1981 by researchers Richard Doll and Richard Peto has been.

Clapp said there is still room for improvement, however. He said the study doesn't address how two or more risk factors, like smoking and drinking, might work together in some cancer cases and deaths.

Also, aside from secondhand cigarette smoke, the researchers did not to include outdoor or indoor air pollution because the data on the cancer risk from pollution is not detailed enough to understand the national impact, said the study's lead author, Dr. Farhad Islami.

Family given house after losing their home in fire

Published: Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 3:27 AM

File photo.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Scott Barbour/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)(Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

A family whose house burned, during which the father also suffered burns while saving his son and sister from the flames, were gifted a new house Saturday.

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Ronald Warren Williamson III suffered third-degree burns in the November fire, according to WTVG

The family received enough votes through a real estate company contest which gave a house to the winner.

"We're just very fortunate for everybody in the community for the way they've all come together," mother Stacey Kennedy told WTVG. "It's just amazing."

WWE's Vince McMahon to give football another shot, may bring back XFL

Published: Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 1:26 AM

12 Jul 2000: Vince McMahon talks during the XFL Press Conference at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Tom Hauck  / Allsport via Getty Images)
Tom Hauck/Getty Images
12 Jul 2000: Vince McMahon talks during the XFL Press Conference at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Tom Hauck / Allsport via Getty Images)(Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

Vince McMahon, owner and creative head of World Wrestling Entertainment, is preparing a new professional football league.

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McMahon started the XFL in 2001, splitting ownership with NBC. The league debuted to massive ratings and hype, with commercials promising a harder hitting brand of football and sexier cheerleaders. But the quality of play suffered greatly from the lack of preparation time for players, as well as the lack of big-name players from the NFL or college, and led to the league lasting only one season.

The story was first told by writer Brad Shepard on Twitter. Wrestling writer David Bixenspan later contacted WWE, which confirmed McMahon has established a new corporation called Alpha Entertainment. 

Bixenspan also reported McMahon had reacquired trademarks for the XFL shortly after ESPN aired a documentary on the league earlier in 2017. Whether McMahon’s league would be called the XFL is unknown.

The Washington Post wrote McMahon’s interest in a return to football was fueled by his participation in the ESPN documentary. Despite the league costing NBC and WWE $35 million in 2001, McMahon tried to find another channel for the league after NBC canceled it and only shut the league down after he was unable to find a television deal.

The XFL branded itself as a harder hitting and sexier version of pro football, and the NFL had become less physical. The marketing campaign behind the league’s debut was one of the most hyped in history and included professional wrestlers from the WWE. 

The timing of McMahon opening a new league could be due to the NFL’s ratings struggles and complaints about the league’s style of play after new rules have restricted how players tackle. National Anthem protests by players in the NFL have been controversial. Media outlets have differed on whether the protests have affected ratings. 

Players and owners were also targeted by President Donald Trump while he was campaigning during the Alabama Senate race. Vince McMahon’s wife Linda, a former WWE president, is a member of President Trump’s cabinet and head of the Small Business Administration. 

Bazooka turned in during San Francisco gun buyback 

Published: Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 12:54 AM

A bazooka was one of the weapons turned in during a gun buyback event Saturday in San Francisco. (Photo: San Francisco Police Department)
A bazooka was one of the weapons turned in during a gun buyback event Saturday in San Francisco. (Photo: San Francisco Police Department)

Police took 271 guns off the street during a gun buyback event Saturday that netted an arsenal including a bazooka, cannon ball and assault rifles.

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“We got everything that you can name that could destroy a whole universe, and we get rid of them within hours," said Rudy Corpuz Jr. with United Playaz, a community group that helped organize the buyback with police.

There were no questions asked. People were given $100 for a handgun and $200 for assault weapons, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

The weapons will be destroyed.

Cruise ship with more than 300 sick passengers returns to Florida port

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 11:38 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Andrew Burton/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)(Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship returned to Port Everglades today after more than 300 people became ill with a stomach virus.

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Cruise officials said there were 332 cases of the gastrointestinal illness, just under 6 percent of the more than 5,000 guests and crew aboard the Independence of the Seas, according to a CNN report.

The cruise left South Florida on Monday, and the illness began to spread by Wednesday, WSVN in Miami reported. Passengers were given over-the-counter medication, and staff quickly cleaned and disinfected the entire ship, a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said.

But passengers reported a not-so-memorable cruise.

"Imagine being in a waiting room and sitting next to five or six people all throwing up at the same time," passenger Cheryl Roberts told WSVN.

Roberts said all of the sick passengers she spoke to had lunch on the ship.

"We all didn’t eat off of the ship, and now we’re all either throwing up or we have horrible diarrhea," she said.

A Royal Caribbean statement said the cruise line is "taking steps like intensive sanitary procedures to minimize the risk of any further issues."