Everyone does this. "It was the cancer that got her, lung cancer" or "Colon cancer. Colon cancer killed him."
No. No! NO! The cancer was caused by something! Foods with additives, cigarettes that addict, fumes that cling to towns and cities and sicken the people. Cancers are the executioner, but the other things are what kills people.
And if you say that cancer was around forever and we just never knew what it was, I say crap. Almost all causes of death from a few hundred years ago to millenia ago are known, and cancers weren't in anywhere near as much proliferation as we now have. Cancer is very much a 20th and 21st Century phenomenon.
And my research for The Body Friendly Zen Cookbook emphasised the close relationship between additives and cancers and inflammatory diseases. Additives = illness.