Is Cancer Bad Luck

Cancer is Bad Luck, But Not the Cause of Cancer

Dr Bret WilsonHeadlines recently proclaimed that “Bad Luck Blamed in Two Thirds of Cancer Cases”.  I would certainly agree that developing cancer is unfortunate, however many factors can influence the risk of cancer.  My concern with this headline  and the various articles  and news stories summarizing a published scientific study, does not give the casual reader the whole story.  The headlines are misleading.  These “snippets of information” imply that cancers are all up to fate; lifestyle choices, diet, exercise and exposure to toxins have little or nothing to do with the risk of cancer.  This is ridiculous and not the findings of this research.  I would suggest that when a headline grabs your attention, take the time to read beyond the single story.  Work to get a better understanding and use the information to make better health decisions.

We are in the information age.  News and events are available to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Information and “connection to the world” is available in many forms television, radio, on line via computers and smart phones.  There is so much it often feels like we are trying to get a drink from a fire hose.  Many of us, in order to try and keep up with the latest news, simply skim headlines and if interested quickly review an on line article or Facebook post.  The various forms of media feed this trend and increase viewers and clicks with provocative headlines and hot button topics.  The rest of the story may be lost in translation, and without a more thorough review may be, and often is misleading.  While this may be harmless when it comes to stories about the latest fashion trends or show business gossip, it can have serious consequences for your health when it comes to health related stories.

The study was performed by two John Hopkins scientists and published in the journal, Science {Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions;  Cristian Tomasetti and Bert Vogelstein;  Science 2 January 2015: 78-81. [DOI:10.1126/science.1260825]}.   The paper makes the case that in the some types of cancer that effect tissues with increased rates of cell turnover and mutation, there is a greater chance of developing an abnormal cell that may become malignant.  This increased chance, along with many other factors, is sited as a reason why some tissues develop cancer and some do not.  The study does not purport that this is the only reason.

Health and lifestyle choices have a huge effect on your risk of cancer and other diseases.  Lung cancer is the leading killer among cancers in the US and it is estimated that 75 – 90 % of the cases are related to smoking.  Reduce cancer risk by improving health through diet, maintaining a healthy weight and exercise.  Limit your exposure to toxins, carcinogens and be smart about the type of products you use on your body and in your home.  Understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy sun exposure and prudent use of sunscreens, clothing and hats.  Stress management and human social connection improve health and prevent disease.  Health consciousness and screenings for early detection and treatment of cancer can also prevent death and improve outcomes.  Preparedness and knowledge  improves your luck and your health.

We all have a hand in making our own luck.  We all have a hand in our own health and how we respond to “bad luck” when fate brings some your way.  The information age is a wealth of opportunity.  Be aware of the rest of the story on important issues like your health and read beyond the headline to find the information that helps you be better, healthier and happier.

Yours in Health Dr. Bret Wilson

Dr. Bret Wilson wants you to move, play and live free from neck and back pain.  For more information about chiropractic, posture, exercise, and how to make better choices about your health visit our website  Find a chiropractor in your area to help you with safe and effective health care.