Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Tag
The death of Jade Goody cannot go unmentioned. The morning papers have pages full of her rags to riches story peppered with quotes from people from all walks of life. The general consensus is she made the most of what little she had, lived an honest life and did what any mother would do to ensure her children would have better prospects and a better life than the one she had been dealt. Big Brother was her doorway through to a better life and she took it without a second thought.
She had her detractors who would have preferred her to hide away out of the public eye and not put her illness on show. For others, her action could do nothing but good, encouraging young women and those who have never been screened for cervical cancer to take an important and perhaps life saving step forward. The actual impact of her openness would be very hard to quantify but if just a handful of lives are saved it must have been worthwhile.
Its something of a comment on our society that an individual who, by her own admission, had little intelligence but a willingness to have a go and, perhaps more importantly, learn from her experiences and mistakes can become a marketable product in her own right and earn a considerable amount of money in such a short time. The public love an underdog and Jade was just that, an underdog who’s ignorance kept us amused and who’s untimely death made everyone realise cancer is not just an infliction of the old.
Screening for breast and cervical cancer have been common for years in the UK. Almost two million women have mammograms each year with around 1,400 lives saved. 3.3 million women were screened for cervical cancer in 2007/8 and 2,700 diagnosed with cancer. There is no doubt that these health screening campaigns are successful at saving the lives of women.
Worldwide, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. Only men have a prostate and only 6% of men in the UK request the PSA screen test to detect if cancer, which is easily treatable in its early stages. Up until now there has been a reluctance to start a national screening programme because the test does result in false positives and some men having unnecessary treatment.
Now research has shown routine prostate cancer screening may cut deaths by a fifth, saving the lives of 2,000 men a year. The National Screening Committee will be asked to review the study and support the introduction of a national programme. Lets hope some money gets spent on supporting men’s health to redress the balance against the investment in supporting women’s health.
Science has long proved that a drink a day will keep the doctor away. As you down that drink under the disapproving gaze of a bystander you can say, ‘I’m doing it for my health’. Having watched the imbibing habits of 40,000 men (why no women?) over 12 years researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that of those men who drink moderate amounts of alcohol 35% are less likely to have a heart attack. What all this drinking did to their livers was not reported.
But now the tables have turned. New research suggests moderate drinking can increase your risk of getting cancer. Cancer Research UK scientists suggest consuming just one drink a day causes an extra 7,000 cancer cases each year, and mostly breast cancer women. So men can drink to help their hearts, but women must abstain. It will do wonders for relationships as there will be no more arguments over who is to be the designated driver. I’m drinking for my own and your health dear; the gallant men of Britain will cry.
Personally, I don’t care if drinking has or does not have health giving properties. Life is too short to miss out on the enjoyment of good beer, wine and spirits, in moderation of course. I believe the secret to a good life can be found in the words of Ben Jonnson’s poem drink to me only with thine eyes. Humans are not solitary creatures and being part of a loving relationship is the best way to a happy life.