Friday, February 27, 2009

cancer is your fault (really?)

After recently watching two friends die of cancer- two beautiful, slender, healthy, fit, organic-food eating forty-somethings, I am saddened by the continued insistence that somehow, cancer is a preventable disease. My mom, at 68, eats better than anyone I know and regularly swims and goes for several mile walks and she got breast cancer. I watched all of them to some degree wonder if refined sugars, not enough leafy greens, stress, pesticides etc caused their cancer. I think of all the poor people who will blame themselves and that 'last ten pounds' for causing their cancer. (I am not saying that healthy habits are irrelevant, but caution the fear-mongering and misinformtation exposed in the following links.)
You might see stories about cancer and lifestyle in the media popping up in the next few days. Please see JunkFoodScience new post and an older one detailing the stats.

You hear the term "evidence based" a lot these days. Its as if that means you can say whatever you want. What the JFS articles point out is that the studies used were often poor studies with confusing or no conclusions, and that science can be manipulated to say whatever you want. Experts often chose to ignore studies with conclusions that don't back up what you are trying to prove. 
 Another case of this evidence based charade is the recent endocrinology association's "evidence based" guidelines to combat childhood obesity. What you see if you look at the fine print is that by their own admission their "evidence" is weak, faulty and not dependable at best. 
Don't be fooled by the terms 'evidence based.' You may need to look deeper.


  1. How is your mom doing? Was it just recently that she was diagnosed with breast cancer? It will be one year next month that I lost my dad due to pancreatic cancer. I hope that there will be a cure for cancer some day!

  2. My mom is doing great, thanks for asking. So sorry to hear about your Dad! It is a terrible disease. I do hope we find a cure, and importantly find good screening tests so we find them early when chance of cure is so much higher!