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Predicting Disease  

One Way to Predict If You'll Get Cancer 

Take a look at the following three statements and see if you don’t agree with some or all of them. 

1.  It seems like almost everything causes cancer. 

2.  There's not much people can do to lower their chances of getting cancer. 

3.  There are so many recommendations about preventing cancer; it's hard to know which ones to follow. 

If you find yourself nodding yes to one or more of the above, you have lots of company. A random phone study of more than 6,000 adults polled found that a substantial number of Americans hold these fatalistic beliefs about cancer. Study results showed that 47% of those polled agreed with the first statement above... 27% with the second... and, not surprisingly, 71.5% with the third.  

The researchers asked respondents if they include basic cancer prevention strategies in their daily lives. Specifically, did they smoke? Did they exercise regularly? Did they eat a healthy diet, including several servings of fruit and vegetables daily? Researchers found that those who held fatalistic beliefs about cancer were less likely to take basic steps to lower their cancer risk. People who agreed with at least one of the above beliefs were less likely to exercise weekly or to eat five daily servings of fruit and vegetables. Those who believed "it's hard to know what to do" were more likely to smoke.  

CHANGING BELIEFS TO INCREASE PROTECTION 

If you were one of those nodding your head in agreement at the beginning of this article, what can you do to change your thinking? Jeff Niederdeppe, PhD, lead author of the study, which was published in the May 1, 2007, issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention answers: 

After agreeing that it can be difficult to make sense of all the cancer news we hear from the media, and allowing that there are many things we don't yet know about cancer, Niederdeppe said, "I'd advise people who think fatalistically to understand that there are things we definitely do know. Most importantly, we know that about 30% of cancer deaths have been attributed to smoking and up to 20% have been attributed to being overweight or obese. When you combine those two statistics, it means that in about half of cancer deaths, we do know what would have prevented the cancer." 

Dr. Niederdeppe suggests that patients get their information from trustworthy sources. Your own doctor is the best place to start, he said, because he/she knows your medical history and can make very individual recommendations on exercise, diet, smoking cessation and also about what basic screenings (such as mammograms or colonoscopy) you should have for early detection. However, remember that doctors have been to medical schools which are often funded by drug companies, so their training may be biased to drug therapy treatment rather than prevention. By and large, health news makes sense -- eating whole foods, avoiding toxins, getting plenty of rest, exercise and sunshine and avoiding stress will always keep you healthiest and happiest. As the classic comedy writer Robert Orben said many years ago: "Time flies. It's up to you to be the pilot and the navigator," but only if you want to reach your destination and a safe landing. 

Source(s):

Jeff Niederdeppe, PhD, is a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar, Department of Population Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 

 

READ OUR TESTAMONIALS 

Adversity can strike in anyone’s life and if it does then you have two choices. Either you lay down and wallow in your sadness or you battle through it and head for a better life.  In her book `Why Me` Yvonne Chamberlain gives a person not only the key to handle any adversity that comes their way but also the knowledge and training to live life to the best of their ability.  There is no greater teacher than one who "has been there and done that".  An amazing woman, a brilliant teacher who gives simple easy to follow guidelines to help you achieve your very best.  A simple to read, easy to understand, difficult to put down, must have book. - Bob Daly  

 

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