Yet another study on cancer to make us miserable

@boiboing (12879)
Northampton, England
December 17, 2015 12:26am CST
We're watching breakfast TV in the hotel in Amsterdam and today's big news is that yet another 'study' into cancer has decided that 9 out of 10 cancers are about lifestyle and not just bad luck. Weird. Last year a similar study was saying pretty much the opposite. Probably next year another will go back to saying that again. Why do I care? For several reasons. Firstly I think they are wrong to lump together all the scores of different cancers as if they were just one 'disease' and not a complex mix of diseases with different causes, treatments and prognoses. Secondly, it's completely counter to the information of the UK's Cancer Research website which shows that only 42% of cancer cases are 'preventable'. That's a BIG gap from the 90% of this study. And thirdly - most importantly - I hate anything that's designed - intentionally or otherwise - to make people who get cancer fell guilty and to feel that their disease is their fault. It's hard enough to deal with having cancer without beating yourself up that it's somehow your just desserts for a life lived badly. Five years ago I had thyroid cancer. The Cancer Research site says that my type is less than 1% preventable. I didn't get it because of what I ate (I had a really good thyroid-friendly diet). I didn't get it because of smoking - I haven't had a cigarette in my life. There's tiny chance that I might have got it from being exposed to Chernobyl fall-out way back in the 1980s since I was off on a field-trip in Scotland yomping about in the countryside in the days after the explosion when the wind was blowing that way. Or much more likely, I was just plain unlucky. If you are interested, the stats for the UK can be found at the link attached.
The proportions of cancer cases in the UK linked to risk factors which are theoretically preventable by lifestyle and other changes are presented here.
11 people like this
12 responses
@LadyDuck (189358)
• Switzerland
17 Dec 15
You are right, every year they come out with a new study and say the opposite of the previous year. Not all the type of cancers are the same and not all are preventable. It is possible that yours was due to Chernobyl contamination. They never mention that the polluted air we breath every day could also be a cause, not to mention the water, full of chemicals and pesticides.
1 person likes this
@bookbar (1612)
• Sudbury, England
17 Dec 15
Maybe they should do more research on environmental factors,that could be influencing the increased incidence, and you may be right in your reference to Chernobyl... how can any of us know.
@boiboing (12879)
• Northampton, England
17 Dec 15
Ah but then governments might actually have to do something about it. SO much easier to blame people for what they eat and drink.
1 person likes this
@bookbar (1612)
• Sudbury, England
17 Dec 15
@boiboing You are so right ... the Other blame game is so much easier and more cost effective..so glad you managed to beat the beast...lost a best friend this week to Pancreatic cancer, which the hospital said was just a blockage...I'm so angry!
@boiboing (12879)
• Northampton, England
17 Dec 15
@bookbar Pancreatic is one of the big bad guys of the cancer gang. Mostly because - as happened to your friend - doctors don't work out what it is until it's too late. I believe it's one of the few where the prognosis hasn't improved much in the past 20-30 years.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Dec 15
I try to avoid reading about all these studies, because if I did I'd hide in the basement for the rest of my life.
@boiboing (12879)
• Northampton, England
17 Dec 15
Then you'd get no Vitamin D and probably get another type of cancer.
• United States
17 Dec 15
@boiboing I take Vit D pills one/week already!
@boiboing (12879)
• Northampton, England
17 Dec 15
@AbbyGreenhill OK, then you can live in your basement then.
@Syllogism (211)
• China
17 Dec 15
Yes, I agree. The first reaction of anyone who gets a cancer would probably be "Why me? Why ME!", and such study that indicates the victims should blame themselves or that's their destiny to get cancer won't help. Have you recovered from the thyroid cancer?
@boiboing (12879)
• Northampton, England
17 Dec 15
Yes, I'm doing very well. Thank you for asking.
@boiboing (12879)
• Northampton, England
17 Dec 15
By the way, the answer to Why Me is simple - it's "Why not?"
1 person likes this
• China
18 Dec 15
@boiboing Yes, that's exactly what I think when bad things happen on me. Since there are bad things happen all the time, bad luck guys all over the world, why couldn't this bad thing happen on me and I'm the bad luck guy?
@Mike197602 (13954)
• United Kingdom
17 Dec 15
Your discussion is interesting but i think drinking water will give me cancer according to an upcoming study. I get depressed reading about what causes cancer so have decided to ignore much of the advice and just take my chances. There are just too many studies from too many groups...pickles my head.
@boiboing (12879)
• Northampton, England
17 Dec 15
You might enjoy this link - - it's about all the crazy things that the Daily Mail claims as causes of cancer.
I DO NOT OWN ANY OF THE FOOTAGE SHOWN IN THE VIDEO. ALL OWNERSHIP BELONGS TO BBC Ltd A short video excerpt from this really good tv show Enjoy!
1 person likes this
@Mike197602 (13954)
• United Kingdom
17 Dec 15
@boiboing I'll watch it..haven't yet, but it's weird you mention the DM as that's where my aversion to cancer discussions comes from I am a member there, on the comments section, and used to see conflicting advice from that publication on a weekly basis I put the "lol" but as a cancer survivor i suspect it isn't a funny thing to you and am absolutely in no way whatsoever making fun of the disease or those that have or have had it. Just in case you think i'm a right wing fool I'm also a member of the guardian...just to balance it out.
@boiboing (12879)
• Northampton, England
17 Dec 15
@Mike197602 Don't worry I'm a thriver more than a survivor and I got off very lightly. I have a GSOH about it.
1 person likes this
@shshiju (10550)
• Cochin, India
17 Dec 15
It is a fact that the number of cancer patients are increasing rapidly these times. I think our life style, food, pollution all matters.
@poehere (17676)
• French Polynesia
18 Dec 15
Personally it is shocking all the things you should not eat or do in life. I am wondering if all of this is actually true or not. I feel like it is best to go organic and try and find other ways to get meat if you do eat this. At lease your aren't exposed to all the chemicals they put in food. I feel like all this canned and processed food is what throws our cells off balance and out of whack.
@Jessicalynnt (47878)
• Centralia, Missouri
18 Dec 15
everything is bad for you. lol
• United Kingdom
17 Dec 15
Good points. I dont think it matters where people are in the world these days to witness news reports like this - but I think there's a lot of scare mongering going on rather than reporting the actual facts. It is a pity because long term though news is reliant on those who watch it, others will just use far more reliable sources.
• United States
17 Dec 15
@boiboing first I am glad that you are a survivor. You raise a lot of good points. Sometimes it feels that are just too many studies. It makes one wonder if potentially valid studies that conflict each other should be pulled out of circulation so as to not confuse folks. Perhaps setting a higher barometer for publishing studies in the first place would be better idea.
@marlina (80847)
• Canada
17 Dec 15
I am sick and tired of all those supposedly studies contradicting each other.
@Poppylicious (10108)
17 Dec 15
I try to live my life knowing that there will be consequences for some of the things I do, and everything else is just down to things beyond my control. There are too many conflicting studies, so I just ignore the bits that don't make sense to me! We'd all be living in little bubbles and struggling to eat, drink, enjoy each other and the sun, if we took notice of everything that was 'discovered' through research!