Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cancerous bollocks

The Telegraph is reporting that we all need to watch our diets to avoid dying hideously.
Millions of people are at risk of getting cancer unless they slash levels of alcohol and red meat in their diets, medical experts have warned in a landmark study.

The most comprehensive review of the evidence linking obesity, diet and physical activity to the chances of developing cancer recommends sweeping changes to our lifestyles if we are to combat rising cancer rates.

Current guidelines on the intake of alcohol and red meat should be nearly halved while people should try to be at the slimmer end of the recommended weight limits in order to lower their risk of developing the disease.

Fuck that for a game of soldiers, there's no way I'm cutting down on booze and red meat. Although, if everyone else wants to, that's fine: all the more for me.

Anyway, according to The Englishman, it's all absolute crap.
I have actually downloaded the report, all 537 pages of it. It is a vast data dredge. I have failed to spot any Relative Risks which approach 2 - (an increase of 100%) - In epidemiologic research, [increases in risk of less than 100 percent] are considered small and are usually difficult to interpret. Such increases may be due to chance, statistical bias, or the effects of confounding factors that are sometimes not evident. [Source: National Cancer Institute, Press Release, October 26, 1994.]

However, as he points out, there is a way in which we could cut significant numbers of deaths from cancer.
Of course if we want to really save "10,000 deaths a year from cancer" according to a report four years ago by Professor Karol Sikora we just have to improve our healthcare to the European average for cancer treatment. That is 10,000 that die because of the NHS and the unique way it is run.

The abysmal oncology service in the NHS is one of the reasons that Andrew Ian Dodge is so glad to be in the US at present.
Some of pondered that my illness is down to unhealthy living; even family members. However my surgeon is keen to let me know that its family history or genes that are the reason I have colon cancer at 39. I like to think that the reason I have it at 39 instead of in my 40s because, as always, I am an early achiever. Lets hope that we can manage to get rid of the little bastard, Red Ken, in early November.

If I recall correctly from our chat the other night, he is under the knife in the next few days (if not today) so let's hope that he gets better quickly.

However, it is worth noting that the elapsed time—from the incident that let to the colonoscopy through diagnosis to operating—has been less than two weeks. As such, his prognosis is excellent.

I doubt that those whose only option our envy-of-the-world health system would have have such a quick process. Or such a good prognosis. I was only half-joking when I put this answer into Patsy Hewitt's mouth a few months ago...
DK: So, the deficit next year is likely to be even higher, isn't it, than this year? Because you have simply delayed these treatments until next year; and that means that you have only deferred the loss; not eliminated it.

Patsy: Ah, yes, but by that time, many of those waiting to be treated will either have died or gone private—which is becoming ever more affordable, you know—and so will, one way or another, not be needing treatment on the NHS.

As Andrew said, it's going to be expensive in the US but, let's face it, money's no use to you if you're dead.

UPDATE: the Daily Mash has its own take.
HEALTH experts were last night told to 'go fuck themselves' after advising consumers to give up bacon.

Fuck yeah!

UPDATE 2: Timmy points out not only that being teetotal is unhealthy but also that cancer levels aren't really rising anyway.
Difficult to reconcile this with the fact that with alcohol, just as an example, you need to consume 63 units of alcohol a wek to get to the same health risks as teetotallers.

Further, it’s very difficult to reconcile this with the fact that we don’t actually have "rising cancer rates". What we have is increasing life spans, meaning that we’re not all dying of things other than cancer and are staying alive long enough to get it. Age adjusted cancer rates (which are the true measure) are falling.

We'll just chlk this story up to the usual scare-mongering then, shall we?

11 comments:

Vicola said...

So, I can either give up bacon and sausage butties and vodka in order to live to be 104, by which time I'll be as mad as a sack of badgers and will spend 24 hours a day in a godforsaken side ward sitting in a pool of my own shit OR I can continue along my current path, have some fun and die a bit earlier with my faculties and dignity intact. Tough choice. Besides, by next week they'll have changed their opinion anyway. The one thing I can guarantee is that 100% of non smoking, teetotal vegetarians are going to die. And after 20 minutes in their sanctimonious company, listening to them drivel on about worm farms and ethnic diversity you'll wish you'd died already. Plus vegetarians do the most appalling farts, I had to leave home when my brother went veggie because of the stink.

Alan Douglas said...

I had to laugh on hearing the news reports yesterday - it seems that if you are alive, and if you eat, you are going to die.

I wonder if there is a smaller chance of dying if I don't eat ?

AGW - Anthropogenic Glutton Warning ?

Alan Douglas

tyger said...

The problem with all this exercise and abstinence ect. is that it's a complete waste of time.

Ok, you may live an extra 3 or 4 years - but so fucking what? You've just spent an hour a day in the gym, which, if you did from the ages 18-70, that's over 2-years of torturing yourself.

Well-done.

FlipC said...

'Living proved 100% fatal'
Scientific studies carried out by a leading university have conclusively shown that of the deceased people they studied every single one of them was previously alive. "It's shocking", said one uninformed person "I think the government should do something about it"

Previous story - Not drinking enough water is unhealthy.
Next story - Drinking too much water is unhealthy.

Roger Thornhill said...

'Living proved 100% fatal'

Not quite so, as the majority of Homo Sapiens Sapiens ever born are still alive today...

Ian said...

Environmental and lifestyle effects on cancer risk are small on their own, studies increasingly show it is more to do with genes and viruses that are the root causes of most cancers.

The recent decision to introduce a "schoolgirl cancer jab" was probably the biggest sea change in how the disease is viewed in many years, realisation that a virus that is easily preventable by vaccine is behind a lot of cases.

Leukaemia clusters have long been associated with virus transmissions, but our fixation with environmental causes has delayed investigation for too long.

As with all things environmental, the lifestyle fascists are always ready to jump on anything that allows them to take more control of how people live, and carcinogenic bacon butties are no exception.

FlipC said...

@Roger Thornhill
Are you arguing with creditable pseudo scientific statistics ;-)

On a serious note if you check that indisputable font of all knowledge Wikipedia you'll note that adding up the world population every fifty years from 1750 to 1950 we hit around 7 billion, with perhaps 3000+ years not accounted for and even taking into account overlap I think the dead outnumber the living.

Anonymous said...

It did cross my mind that if you are enormously fat then you would have more cells in your body - and naturally that would mean there was a greater chance of one of those cells malfunctioning and becoming cancerous. But then it occurred to me that of all the people I know that have died of cancer - not one was particularly fat. So here the Devil is telling me that dredging through the statistics shows no really significant increase in the cancer incidence in fatties - and that despite the fact that they have already admitted that 2/3rds of people get cancers that have nothing to do with being a fatty.

It gets to the point that we really should just rebel. This is just one health scare too many. Tell them all to just fuck off and leave us alone. God knows it's bad enough they treat my dad worse than an animal for smoking (the dogs get to come inside our local pub). I don't want to live forever anyway, just so I can listen to yet more health scares and end up in an old peoples home pissing my own pants.

I think I'll take up smoking out of spite.

On another note, just how much money gets donated to Cancer Research and the best those tossers can come up with is a TV interview: "well, you should stop eating bacon". Well fuck off, you aren't getting any more cash off of me, you charlatans and wasters. You are as corrupt as the International Red Cross, with its bank accounts in Geneva. How bloody handy is that. Crooks.

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

Thanks for the kind words and the link. I am actually going in for my cancer cull on 5th of Nov.

My blog will be suitably kept up while I am in hospital by a cadre of individuals I have selected from various online grouping. I rather hope for some fireworks but we shall see.

The Chronicler said...

We are thankful that we live in the Czech Republic. Here, under a social insurance system health care is quick (I can get a doctor's appointment whenever I want), it is good (specialists see me when I want), and it is relatively cheap we pay around 40 GBP/month with most things covered by insurance.

For those things that aren't covered by insurance we have the option of paying for it and the cost is rarely prohibitive.

What is amazing that Czechs living in the UK are very fearful of any contact with the NHS. Given half a chance they go home to get any health care.

Czechs who know the UK compare the NHS to the old centralised communist health system which was bureaucratic, inefficient, corrupt, unlikely to cure you and very likely to make you sicker.

It is flabbergasting how UK politicians and parts of the UK media say that the NHS is the envy of the world, when it clearly is not. Every other developed country has a better health system, and for people in the UK to harp on that the NHS is the best makes the country a bit of a joke.

Anonymous said...

The NHS has only one useful purpose - it acts as a competitor to private health care and thus keeps the costs of private health care in the UK much lower. Private health care in the US is 10x more expensive than in te UK.