The Good News Cancer Post!

Glorious good afternoon to you, my gentle readers!

I thought that I’d write an article of a more uplifting nature today. After all, I think that with all the negative news we are bombarded with daily, this would be a nice change of pace.

So, let’s begin with some news that effects everyone:

COFFEE MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF SOME CANCERS

Now, you “tea” drinkers may not appreciate this news, but we Starbucks aficionados are ecstatic. A recent study published in Cancer Epidemiology states that coffee consumption may reduce the risk of “…colorectal, female breast, liver and head and neck cancers.”

Now this is pretty great. However, keep one thing in mind, when I was a resident (at Harvard, for those of you who are new to my blog), an article was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine stating that coffee increased the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Now, this study proved to be wrong, fortunately, for all of us, but the lesson here is enjoy the good news until the next study comes along stating the opposite.

Now a little good news for the ladies:

BREAST FEEDING MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF BREAST CANCER

Hooray, chalk up another victory for the La Leche League!!

A study from the American Institute for Cancer research analyzed 18 studies looking at this. The conclusion was that a woman’s risk of breast cancer dropped 2% for every 5 months of breast feeding.

That’s actually a pretty dramatic decrease. It might even make up for the increased risk you may get from having a few alcoholic drinks.

Which is only fair, since that’s probably how you got pregnant in the first place.

Now a little something for the gentlemen:

NO LINK BETWEEN VASECTOMY AND PROSTATE CANCER

A study published in JAMA Oncology shows no link between vasectomy and high grade, or fatal prostate cancer.

So, go ahead boys! Get snipped. Not only will you not have to worry about creating growths in your prostate, but you won’t have to worry about inducing any “growths” in your wife or girlfriend either!

Sorta good news:

DARK HAIR DYES MAY BE LINKED TO A HIGHER RISK OF BREAST CANCER

OK, OK, ladies calm down. This was a small study that depended on people’s recall so there can easily be some bias here.

On the other hand, you can all be blondes!! Problem solved by me! I await my Nobel Prize.

SO WHAT THE HELL DOES ALL THIS MEAN?

That’s probably the most important question to be asked here. While, as usual, I write about this stuff in a flippant fashion, it’s all the type of information we are bombarded with on a daily basis.

So what does someone do? Do you really try to incorporate all the positive components? Become a blonde wet nurse who drinks coffee all day and has a neutered boyfriend?

Or, do you just try to live your life with the full knowledge that everything we do carries some element of risk?

In the end, that is exactly what we do, although we come up with some extremely clever rationale to justify it.

So what’s the moral of today’s post?

The same as always: Stay Skeptical.

Studies will come and go. New information will replace old, or at least serve to obfuscate it. In the end, you just need to use common sense. Avoid excesses, try to eat right, exercise and don’t smoke.

Beyond that, minute changes in your risks one way or the other will all probably balance out in the end. And even if you lead an exemplary life, you will still die of something, someday.

So, enjoy what you have every day, and stop reading these stupid studies.

That’s my job.

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