“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.
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.
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.
- Source article: Can daily aspirin help ward off cancer? – chicagotribune.com.
- Earlier blog about confusing news. The constancy of confusion about food & health…contains the list of 25 confusing headlines over a 3-day period.
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 Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation