Cancer? Daily aspirin? Bleeding stomach? Optimal diet?

“Can daily aspirin help ward off cancer?”

That was the title of an article in the Chicago Tribune on 8-30-12. The latest in a never-ending list of confusing news items about food and disease. In a recent blog, I listed 25 such headlines that I had collected from the media in just three days (See link below).

It makes you wonder how many of these studies had corporate sponsors who were looking to promote sales by publicizing any of the good findings—like this from this article:

Earlier this year, an analysis of previous clinical trials showed that people on aspirin were less likely to die of cancer than those not on the medication, with a 37-percent drop in cancer deaths observed from five years onwards.

The new report, published Friday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, is based on real-life observations instead of experiments. It includes a decade’s worth of data from more than 100,000 men and women in the U.S., most over 60 and all of them non-smokers.

So what’s the problem with articles like these. In my opinion, they’re confusing the public and may very well cause more harm than good. The average citizen is not going to read all of these articles carefully—but they may be prompted to take some kind of action just from scanning the headline.

What about the bleeding stomach and other possible side effects of a daily aspirin regimen?

For example, let’s say a middle-aged guy, who has a lot of cancer in his family, scans the article and then hears someone on the evening news mention this new information. And since he already has aspirin in his medicine cabinet, he decides to start taking several tablets a day—just on the hope that it might help him avoid cancer.

Unfortunately, he fails to read the paragraph about the potential side effects; from the article (see link below):

Dr. Kausik Ray of St. George’s University of London, who has studied aspirin, said the new study did not look at overall death rates or side effects such as serious stomach bleeds.”This is not a drug without side effects, so what you have to look at is net benefit,” he told Reuters Health.

Earlier this year, Ray’s team published an analysis of previous aspirin trials showing the medication did not prevent deaths from heart disease or cancer, and was likely to cause more harm than good.

Daily Blog # 587

The Bottom Line. The steady stream of confusing news about food and health is a huge part of the problem—not part of the solution to our health care crisis in the western world.

Further, none of our disease-specific organizations (like the ACS) ever provide clarity regarding exactly what we must do in order to give ourselves the very best chance of avoiding cancer or any other chronic disease for our entire lives—regardless of our genetic profile.

Sadly, none of these articles about lowering risks or treating symptoms clarifies what the consumer should do in order to address the root causes of whatever ails them. In 70 to 80% of the cases, those ailments would likely disappear if people shifted to a near-optimal, whole foods, plant-based diet. Here’s how to get started:

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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2 Responses to Cancer? Daily aspirin? Bleeding stomach? Optimal diet?

  1. CLARITY IN THE “DIET WARS” — I posted this on the Atkins Book review thread today:

    Poo-Poo to Paleo!! Do look at the fat, sickly low carb promoters!!

    And —> Plant-strong proponents have most of their advice in great agreement!

    Recorded at the September 7 to 9, 2012
    McDougall Advanced Study Weekend

    The battle of good and evil is between plant food based (high carb) and animal-food based (low-carb) diets. At stake is our future. However, within the plant-food based eating community are also feuds that must be resolved. Teaching of a plant-food based diet are as old as the origins of the Bible (Daniel).


    Published on Sep 13, 2012 by drmcdougallmd

    John McDougall, MD: The Diet Wars. Presented at the September, 2012, Advanced Study Weekend, at the Flamingo Resort and Spa, Santa Rosa, California, this program discusses and compares the popular diet plans on the market today, and their impact on long term health.

    Watch more videos at:

    Category: Education


    Do listen, for free! Enjoy.

    “Dr. McDougall has really outdone himself with this lecture. He has absolutely destroyed the silly arguments for Paleo and other low-carb approaches, and presented a clear and compelling case for the starch-centered, low-fat, vegan diet. I’ve been a “starchivore” for the past couple of years, and it has made a wonderful difference in my personal health, and that of family members who also listened.”
    Mentat1231 10 hours ago 2

    “Great presentation! I agree 100% we need to set minor differences aside and together we can focus on the real enemy. These paleo diet promoters are profiting off making people sick. The one rule everyone should follow is NEVER TAKE DIET OR NUTRITION ADVICE FROM AN OBESE PERSON.”
    Yufffff 8 hours ago

    I captured this McD talk via my video camera and made a DVD so that it is in my video library!

  2. John Benjamin Sciarra says:

    Aspirin? Gives me a headache.

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