The incidence of prostate and breast cancer is up, but that's only because there's more early detection. Lung cancer increased in women because more women took up cigarettes, and skin cancer increased because of lunatic sunbathing. But overall, cancer rates are flat, and lots of cancers, like stomach, uterine, and colorectal cancer, are on the decline.
We think there's a cancer epidemic because we hear more about cancer. It's a disease of an aging population, and fortunately, more people now live long enough to get cancer. More talk about it, too. Many years ago, people who got cancer were secretive about it.
But the main reason we think there is an epidemic is that the media, suspicious of technology, hype dubious risks.
Almost every week, there is another story about a potential menace. Reporters credulously accept the activists' scares: While I've been a reporter, I've been asked to do alarmist reports about hair dye, dry cleaning, coffee, chewing gum, saccharin, cyclamates, NutraSweet, nitrites, Red No. 2 dye, electric blankets, video display terminals, dental fillings, cellular phones, vaccines, potato chips, farmed salmon, Teflon, antiperspirants and even rubber duckies.
I refused to do most of those stories. If one-tenth of what the reporters suggested was happening did happen, there would be mass death. The opposite is true: Despite exposure to radiation and all those nasty new chemicals, Americans today live longer than ever.
So grab a bar of chocolate (it's healthier than you think, if you eat the right kind) and a copy of my new book, just out this week.
Everything you know is wrong -- and that's very good news.