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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Cancer as a Disease of Civilization

Updated: November 14th, 2018

Are there more cases of cancer diagnosed now than ever before? And does anyone know why? Actually, yes to both. Cancer is virulent in humans and in our companion animals. And science considers it a disease of our civilized lifestyle.

Consider how many millions of years humans as a species have been on earth, evolving with our planet. Then consider that our moden diet and lifestyle has only developed over the past several hundred years.

As Dr. Dressler wrote about in The Dog Cancer Survival GuideRichard Doll was a scientist and visionary who was among the first to link our modern way of life with disease. From smoking to asbestos to diet he shown relationships between our day-to-day world and cancer. And we know that what affects us also affects our dogs.

There were many studies, articles and books Dr. Dressler and Dr. Ettinger used when writing The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. Here is a list of the most important references about cancer as a disease of civilization.

Please note that in vivo and clinical use citations were included whenever possible. We have also include links to the papers, where available. Most of the papers are found on the National Institute of Health’s online library, PubMed.

The effect of diet on risk of cancer. Key TJ, et al. Lancet. 2002 Sep 14;360(9336):861-8. Review.

The rising burden of cancer in the developing world. Kanavos P. Ann Oncol. 2006 Jun;17 Suppl 8:viii15-viii23. Review.

Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Cordain L, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-54. Review.

Evolution of the human diet: linking our ancestral diet to modern functional foods as a means of chronic disease prevention. Jew S, AbuMweis SS, Jones PJ. J Med Food. 2009 Oct;12(5):925-34. Review.

Population causes and consequences of leading chronic diseases: a comparative analysis of prevailing explanations. Stuckler D. Milbank Q. 2008 Jun;86(2):273-326. Review.

Cancer risk diversity in non-western migrants to Europe: An overview of the literature. Arnold M, Razum O, Coebergh JW. Eur J Cancer. 2010 Sep;46(14):2647-59.

Testicular cancer risk in first- and second-generation immigrants to Denmark. Myrup C, et al. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2008 Jan 2;100(1):41-7. Epub 2007 Dec 25.

[Mortality among non-western migrants in The Netherlands] Mackenbach JP, et al. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2005 Apr 23;149(17):917-23.

Between and within: international perspectives on cancer and health disparities. Jones LA, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2006 May 10;24(14):2204-8. Review.

The exploding worldwide cancer burden: the impact of cancer on women. Wilson CM, Tobin S, Young RC. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2004 Jan-Feb;14(1):1-11. Review.

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