the media …gives you cancer.

Friday, April 17, 2009 18:00 | Filed in Media, Science

Let us see what gives you cancer these days, eh? Or at least increases the risk of you getting it.

And of course, what is the biggest single thing that is most likely to increase your risk of getting cancer. Yup, that’s right, getting older. Old age really is the big risk factor. So you’d better stop that aging business right away. In fact, your best chance of not getting cancer is probably to die from something else as soon as possible.

Whenever you read health statistics suggesting that ‘25,000 lives a year could be saved if…’, remember that they are talking shite. All they mean is that in that particular year, those 25,000 people won’t have died of that cause. These people will still die of something at some point. Statistically, reducing your chances of getting hit by a bus will increase the chance you’ll die of cancer.

So when you hear all these scare stories you need to remember that yes, you can do things to increase the chances of you living longer, and that may indeed be advisable. But you also need to remember that the papers who are telling you these things are generally more concerned about getting a good headline than about the facts.

Just to give you an ‘anti-cancer’ example. It has been reported by The Express, The Mail, The BBC, The Independent and, perhaps unsurprisingly The Chocolate Trading Company, that chocolate might reduce your cancer risk. Yet other than the NHS, the only other organisation I saw in the search results reporting the debunking of this super-chocolate story was the Edinburgh News.

An honourable mention goes to Do cancer scare stories give you the Daily Mail? which appeared during my compilation of this list, and does something similar — in this case just looking specifically at the frequency cancer scares appear in the Daily Mail.

Remember, the media aren’t always interested in telling you the facts. They are interested in selling you a story, and hence their newspaper. Don’t believe everything you read; check it up. Ask how much does this increase my risk, how much do I have to eat/drink before my risk is increased?

And please do remember you can’t avoid risk entirely. There’s not much point having a life if you are too scared to enjoy any of it…

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Comments to the media …gives you cancer.

  1. Shannon says:

    April 17th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    I get so annoyed when I actually sit down and WATCH the news, which is rare and usually at my brother’s house. I can’t stand the sensationalist stories that tell you that anything you do is going to kill you or your child. If you walk out your front door or eat anything YOU’RE GOING TO DIE A SLOW PAINFUL DEATH. And did you know? If you DON’T leave your house or eat anything you’re ALSO going to die a slow painful death. It annoys me so much.

    I think I tend to get annoyed with newscasters in general, like how they use the same tone of voice when they’re telling you that there’s been a terrorist attack as they do when they’re headlining a story about a teenager who sent 20,000 texts in one month. But I think I’ve moved on to a whole new subject now….

  2. Andy Mabbett says:

    April 17th, 2009 at 10:37 pm

  3. JackP says:

    April 18th, 2009 at 9:03 am

    @Andy, I know - that post I mention is the one which talks about that project…

Leave a comment