New Internationalist

Ten Ways To Get Cancer

August 1989


If you are really determined to get cancer here's how you can increase your chances.

1. Catch some rays

Woman in bikini sunbathing to get cancer

If you are fair-skinned, spend lots of time in the sun and by all means avoid using any sun block lotion. If you live in a rainy or cold climate take lots of vacations in tropical sunspots. And make sure you spend all your time on the beach.

2. Smoke till you choke

Person smoking cancer-inducing ciggarettes and wearing a leather jacket

Don't listen to the wimps who tell you not to smoke. Tell them that 'everything causes cancer' and we all die sooner or later anyway. Low-tar cigarettes or filters will protect you. Gutsy people who live life to the full are smokers. Smoking has the added benefit of exposing friends and family to lung damage.

If you live in the Third World you'll want to disassociate yourself from boring traditional culture. The easiest way of appearing modern and 'with it' is to have a cigarette dangling from your lips.

3. Junk food

Woman eating carcinogenic junk food

Try to avoid eating fresh fruit and vegetables (especially organically-grown ones) and stick to a fatty diet: lots of meat and dairy products like butter, cheese and cream. It is especially important not to eat yellow vegetables - like carrots, squash and yams. And make sure you avoid vegetables such as brussels sprouts and cabbages. These trouble-makers are known to spoil the development of an otherwise good cancer-causing diet. Try to eat as much smoked or salted food as possible and don't spare the nitrites. Salami, smoked meat and hot dogs should be regular fare. Also avoid too much vitamin C and other vitamins.

4. Friendly neighbours

Woman digging allotment next to industrial cancer scape

See if you can find a house near a nuclear weapons factory or at least near a petro-chemical complex like that in the 'cancer alley' section of Louisiana. Better still, see if you can find a place to live near an open-pit asbestos mine. If some activist tries to organize the community against local factories tell them pollution is not a problem, and the country's prosperity depends on business being given a free hand.

5. Toil and trouble

Man carrying a big pile of tires

Get a job that exposes you to a regular dose of strong chemicals. Working in a tire factory or near a coke oven would do. But you could also pump gas, install asbestos insulation, pick fruit sprayed with pesticide or make plastics from vinyl chloride. If your boss provides safety equipment, don't use it. Avoid meetings of the union health and safety committee. You have better things to do with your time.

6. Trust the system

Woman sitting on bed taking the pill (which may cause cancer) with child in background

What you don't see can't hurt you. Maybe meat is pumped full of hormones - and they say the oestrogen in those birth control pills increases the risk of uterine cancer. So what? They wouldn't sell such things if they were really dangerous.

And if there were the likelihood of naturally-occurring radon gas building up in the cellar, people would have told you about it. You shouldn't bother to check it out yourself.

7. Chewing power

Some houses Indian man with female health visitor in the background

If you live in India or Sri Lanka make sure you ignore the district health worker who tells your fellow villagers about the dangers of chewing tobacco and betel nut. There are lots of diseases around that people weakened from malnutrition are dying from every day. Life is difficult enough without giving up a pleasure that is cheap and easily available.

8. Zap the pests

Farmer spraying carcinogenic pesticides onto some crops

If you are a farmer, make sure to drench your fields with pesticides and herbicides. Cancer risks are a small price to pay for the most up-to-date approach to agriculture. Biological forms of pest control seem old-fashioned and much more labour-intensive. In the Third World it is best to use the kinds of pesticides (i.e. DDT or Parathion) that have been banned in some Western countries as these are cheaper and really do the job. This way both workers and consumers can be exposed to risk by the food you grow.

9. Showcase medicine

Evil businessman with a scientist in the background

If you live in the Third World and you are rich then you should support politicians and experts who want the latest medical technology from the West for the big new hospital in the capital. Then you and the occasional Western tourist who falls ill will be able to get the most modern health-care. You should avoid spending money on a regular cancer screening program for poor women. This will ensure that those who suffer three-quarters of the world's cervical cancers continue to do so.

10. Ignore the signs

Woman in sunglasses walking away from a sign pointing towards a clinic

Avoid regular medical check-ups. If a mole has begun to change shape or there is persistent swelling and soreness in your breast, ignore it. Put it down to the aches and pains of getting older. Don't bother with cervical smear tests, and don't pay any attention to unexplained growths and changes in your body. And above all don't take responsibility for your own health; it is up to the medical profession to fix your body if it goes wrong.

Illustrations: Clive Offley

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This feature was published in the August 1989 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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Comments on Ten Ways To Get Cancer

Comment submissions for this page are closed.

  1. #11 victoria hand 26 Jan 12

    that was very helpful to my school project:)

  2. #12 Keisha 01 Mar 12

    i think this website is confusing considering eating healthy is suppose to help you eating junk is bad for your health and everything else that you said is good

  3. #14 dilsha 07 Apr 12

    i want to know .that how will a normal person affects the canser quickly, is there any simple way that i will get that cancer disease?

  4. #15 dan 30 May 12

    dilsha, radiation will prolly do it.

  5. #21 L Lawliet 01 Dec 12

    You know, I was just effing around when I Googled this. I've got a death wish and not enough courage to do myself in, and I was just fantasizing about getting the news that I was terminally ill and would die within months.
    So I searched this, and I feel a lot better. I wish I had cancer so much, and now I can do a little more than wish.
    But I really wish cigarettes weren't so bloody expensive. I want me some lung cancer, dammit.

  6. #22 Emily 17 Jan 13

    Woah, this is not a joke, cancer isn't funny, this article is offensive, and it's disappointing it's allowed to be found on here, disgrace, it's horrible, my mom has cancer and you don't want it, It's not something to take light heartedly or as a joke, people these days, I'm disgusted

  7. #23 DJ Mike 27 Feb 13

    Are there ways to avoid cancer or to get cancer? WTF.
    I'm trying to avoid cancer not get cancer.

  8. #25 susie Q 11 Mar 13

    whomever said they wished they were terminally ill I can identify with that. Anything has to be better than the last 9 years I have put in. I could not bear to think there will be 9 more like the past nine.

  9. #26 hema 18 Apr 13

    you're freaking genius dude!!! seriously!

  10. #27 iyunadavis 18 Apr 13

    I fell bad for the people who have cancer

  11. #28 Burtsbees 20 May 13

    If you came here to commit suicide or anything in that direction.It's not sad.There are people in the world who actually has cancer and they are literally dying to get out of that situation.Stop being an immature selfish individual and live -_-. Nobody knows the real value of life when they are losing it, so don't you dare even think of putting yourself in this situation.There is a 50/50 chance of you losing your life to cancer and actually getting away from it and it does not always leave your system, be gateful for your life, while you are here wasting your minutes complaining about how you do not want to live anymore there is a person out there who is dying from this disease and it shows you just how much you could cherish your life when you actually experience these situations.People who wanna die are not always nice some of them can also be just plain butthurt, if you are one of those people I'm not telling you to kill yourself but there are people out there who are suffering inside and you are there making your life miserable.Don't end your life just because you had a bad day, plus if you killed yourself for no reason nobody would even remember you unless you had a rare disease,I am no preacher or one of those silly nillys but I know when people need to be taught a lesson.Just as Bruce Lee said; Don't pray for an easier life, pray for the strength to endure one, and in this case you have not yet learnt the true meaning of life and death if you wanna die so early.

  12. #29 jess 16 Jul 13

    Dont tell people howto get cancer, it hurts a lot and nobody should want to get it.

  13. #30 tard wanker 02 Sep 13

    this article made my day, cheers

  14. #31 sarah 14 Sep 13

    WTF whoever wrote this wants to waste their life you should just shoot yourself now y would someone want to waste their life idiot

  15. #32 Person 29 Sep 13

    Why the hell would you want cancer?!?!

  16. #33 trololol 14 Nov 13


  17. #34 Ali 11 Dec 13

    Thanks this helped me now i know how to die quick and achieve cancer brilliant!

  18. #35 AECooper 15 Dec 13

    Eating healthy wont decrease your chance of getting cancer. Also organic foods are still sprayed with pesticides, and in fact those ’natural’ pesticides are worse than the new synthetic ones. There are no benefits in eating organic.

  19. #38 jessica hackshaw 20 Jan 14

    so what can i do to prevent cancer

  20. #39 Armaan 20 Jan 14

    I need the direction to get cancer. And want to make lyf sa small.. Jst till 2018/2019.....

  21. #40 Mikael 27 Jan 14

    Where is League of Legends?

  22. #41 Anonymous 01 Feb 14

    Please tell me the fastest way I can get cancer!! I expect to allow it me to live till 2021!! Seriously and you fuckers mind your own damn fucking business!!!its my life and God gave me hell on earth!!!
    Author~Anonymous jackass selfish bastard!!!

  23. #42 you arent serious 09 Feb 14

    Why would someone want to get cancer? This is so stupid. Nobody is going to kill themselves on purpose unless they are sucicidal! nvm This is wasting my time.................

  24. #43 Kimi 08 Mar 14

    I've regretted having my breast cancer treated life has been hell since z. I keep hoping it will come back so I don't do checks and so forth. I guess it is a roll if the dice no one seems to know if it will come back or not

  25. #44 Amelia 03 Apr 14

    Why the hell would anyone want to get Cancer?

  26. #45 Amelia 03 Apr 14

    Why the hell would anyone want to get Cancer?

  27. #46 nonn 08 Apr 14

    Burtsbees, you must have no idea, not even the slightest, about those who did come here to commit suicide. Yes, they do know that people are suffering from cancer, but it makes them question, 'Why them? Why did someone else, who had so much potentia,l have to die while I'm just wasting my life? Why did they get cursed with a short life, when I don't deserve mine?' Someone who is suicidal wouldn't kill themselves because of one bad day, they must have been suffering so much longer to think that they should die. Now, I know that this doesn't justify their suicidal intentions, but you shouldn't tell them to just 'stop being selfish and live'. You think they havent tried? People who hate themselves that much, to think that killing themselves is better, are people who are also suffering.

  28. #47 Matti 09 Apr 14

    WTF? I searched how to avoid cancer and this is what popped up... cancer isn't a hoke, guys.

  29. #48 christopher mcneil 09 Apr 14

    It was kinda funny but it didn't help me at. So you should kinda be more serious about this

  30. #49 simon west 26 Apr 14

    For me to die

  31. #50 Get Real 02 May 14

    Guys, it's a sarcastic article. It's not truly giving advice to get cancer. I have cancer myself, and it is AWFUL. Pain, suffering, tests, etc. NOBODY would want it if they understood what they were getting themselves into, no matter how suicidal or self-pitying they are. It's telling you what NOT to do. It's written from a unique viewpoint.

  32. #51 AISHWARYA 09 May 14

    should not obey doctors precautions

  33. #52 S 17 May 14

    Thank you for the helpful hints.

    I now have cancer.

  34. #53 Alley 22 Jun 14

    Calm down guys this is obviously not serious. Think about it. They are warning you in a sarcastic way. If you thought this was offensive you are clearly missing the point. It's not a joke either. This is showing some ways you can get cancer and thus helping us avoid them. Peace.

  35. #54 Jerald 25 Jun 14

    All fucked up....

  36. #56 Dope Swag McGeeTroll 19 Aug 14

    Fuck yeah man, now I can get qualified for medicinal kush. Smokin bud with my 14 year old son will be the best bonding I've ever had in my life. This article is great, 10/10, will read more.

  37. #58 charley 27 Sep 14

    I cant wait to get cancer so i can do a thing in make a wish foundation...(kiddin.)

  38. #59 Harry 21 Dec 14

    Great! I will try all of these!

  39. #60 Jo 17 Feb 15

    Are all Americans this stupid or are you guys a special selection?

  40. #61 annonymous 21 Feb 15

    i came here because ive wanted to kill myself for 2 years now but i cant do it to my mother. i know im selfish and that people are out there suffering from this awful disease but as they say one mans trash is another mans treasure. if that makes sense. truly sorry to anyone with this disease but for me it may be a blessing.

  41. #62 isaiah 26 Feb 15

    totally helped me. Thanks! ;)

  42. #63 smoot66 05 Mar 15

    If you find this offensive then simply leave. Freedom of speech

  43. #64 Jason 15 Mar 15

    Is there any way to do it quicker. All of the solutions posted above take time, a long time. Is there something one can take?

  44. #65 Chris Tee 22 Mar 15

    I hope people realize that this article was meant to be an informative one: something that helps people realize what they should probably NOT be doing... It's just hidden underneath a couple layers of sarcasm and humor... XD

  45. #66 Hunter 27 Apr 15

    I'm currently a 15 year old cancer survivor.LOL I don't think this is the article for me lmao! But if I ever have a death wish it'll be really easy to get cancer with these steps so when I finally have a death wish I'll come back. Lol I already had cancer once that makes me more prone than other non cancer survivors. The only shitty thing is that I have one kidney, if I do those steps I'm probably gonna cause renal failure:(darn:(

  46. #67 nada 26 May 15

    I did so man but nothing is happen

  47. #69 Jakob 15 Jun 15

    I know that by taking the time to write a comment, I'm redundantly contributing to the ignorance below - BUT. A rather large part of me finds it necessary to remind everyone reading this that this article was written in 1989, and is lined and riddled with sarcasm. Yes, if you wanTed to contract a terminal illness, then by all means take thus seriously. Though there's no sense in getting rattled over an article that takes a slightly humorous approach to avoiding cancer causing dangers. Chill ax Max, y'all are some angry fuckers sometimes

  48. #72 Hopeless fool 18 Jul 15

    This is a dumb article that is lame in 2015. It's trying to make a political point as a joke by saying that our normal lifestyles are cancer inducing.

    I am actually looking for a way to contract cancer. What do I need to inject and where? Can I swap organs with a cancer sufferer? should I holiday in chernobyl? I'm not interested in increasing my odds, I want a terminal illness now.

    Site owner: please be aware that this page is currently the top ranking google site for ’how to get cancer’, and many of the posters are suicidal.

  49. #74 If only 12 Aug 15

    Was at work and thought about this. To hear the news that I had cancer and had only so much time to live made me smile. Why would I want to get rid of it?
    An exit from this messed up world we call a first world civilisation would be fantastic. Land of the free? More like land of the oppressed and slave to the taxation. I have no wife/gf or kids and nor would I want any of those toxic growths in my life.
    My step dad has had several cancers, my mother has had cancer, do I think there should be a cure for it? No way. Humans live too long as it is, last thing we need to do is get rid of something else so we can live longer. Who wants to live longer? Do what? Work to pay debts and on going bills? How is this a life anyone would want to live longer for? I'm glad that I'll eventually die because it is what it is to be a living organism. Every living thing dies. It's what powers evolution. Not that I'd add anything. Not that high opinionated of myself. Just to have a free exit card would nice.

  50. #75 Guest 03 Sep 15

    Thanks, finally got myself cancer!

  51. #76 Madeline 09 Sep 15

    Wow. Just wow. I'm upset to read something so hurtful, just so hurtful. I thought this was a joke at first (not funny even so) but then I heard someone got cancer because of this. Who wrote this article? I am offended in so many ways. I'm making my way through middle school, I looked this up just for fun (I regret it) and I found this. I am so sad that so many people want cancer, when there are people out there in the world who would do anything to prevent it. Wow.

  52. #77 Bert 22 Sep 15

    Sweet thanks for the great tips.
    Now i can plan how im going to die. Dont want to be around for much longer and this looks simple enough

  53. #79 Chuvk 03 Jan 16

    All excellent advise. I'll try each one.

  54. #80 robert magnle 12 Jan 16


  55. #82 goutam 24 Jan 16

    thanks to dis site , helping me to die soon , right now ill start and follow that ten steps,,,,, thanks so musch......

  56. #84 Brooke 08 Feb 16

    Wtf? Really? Somebody might want to die from cancer and you post this? What kind of sicko are you?

  57. #87 FAWAD 08 Mar 16

    Look guys.. Don't try to stop people who wants to die... My mom died of cancer.. 10 years ago.. It took my 5 years to get strong enough to just not start crying when seeing children with there Mom.. Well of course I was very small.. But now.. My fiance with whome i have been with for 4 years, my only reason to live gets cancer and gets a time limit of just 2 months.. Now what the fuck did she did to deserve it? She is the most amazing person I have ever met in my entire life,who has literally made me a better and open minded person.. Now she is being taken away from me.. Soo I don't have to deal with this agaaiinn.. I have started to feel like I am the reason why people around me gets cancer.. Soo it's the best for me to get cancer... I don't want to live my life without her.. I hate this world.. I hate God for doing this to her. .. Soo I really hope I get cancer as soon as I can.. Although it mighte tough to hide smoking from my friends and family.. Coz I was in the club which is against smoking..well I quit today from that club..but whoever wrote this article.. Thank you soon much.. But if possible.. Can you post an article to get cancer quickly.. Like an injection or something..?

  58. #89 Jul 22 Mar 16

    Play League of Legends without premades

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