Published on October 24, 2018

Given that we have longer lifespans, how can we live healthy until we die?

Between 1900 and 2000 the average US lifespan has increased from 47 to 77 years. What if you wished for a long life, with the caveat that any disease state would be shortened and postponed until the end of life? So, if instead of living until 95, with the last 10 years in an institution, you live 86 years with one year of disease state?

Or what if you avoided the disease state entirely?

Prevention is key!

Data on 71 cancer drugs approved from 2001 to 2012 showed only an average 2.1-month extension of life. We are nearing the limit of medical interventions to extend the length of life. Perhaps we should shift our resources into improving the quality of life.

We know that women with vitamin D levels of 60 ng/ml (150 nmol/L) or greater had an 80% reduced risk of breast cancer compared to those with a vitamin D level of 20 ng/ml or less.

What if we used this information to prevent 80% of the breast cancer incidence in 2020? What would those numbers look like?

266,120 new cases of breast cancer in 2018 (according to breastcancer.org)


53,224 new cases of breast cancer.

We would have improved the quality of life of 212,896 people.

Changing the lives of over 200,000 people!

What is next?

To create a larger community project, similar to what we have done with the Protect our Children NOW! project at the Medical University of South Carolina, around vitamin D testing, repletion and reporting health outcomes. The mechanisms are in place, and we have ready communities. We just need the funding to be able to “grant” one or more of these communities a project.

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Dying Healthy: Public Health Priorities for Fixed Population Life Expectancies
George J. Annas et al.
Annals of Internal Medicine
October 2018
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