So, that’s the good news.
In the past week or so, a new report out of Europe claimed that cured meat, like bacon and salami and all other manner of deliciousness, is just as bad as cigarettes when it comes to adding carcinogens to your body.
Carcinogens are very bad news. They are like the slightly violent, unstable druggy kids at school that no one wants to talk to and everyone avoids eye contact with. The link between carcinogens and the pathogens of cancer are well documented, and everything labeled ‘anti-oxidant’ is trying to protect you from these bullies.
The problem is that many, many, many ordinary things have some level of carcinogens in them, and as the song goes ‘Everything gives you Cancer’.
Once upon a time when we just natural died off before 40 anyway because a) life was harder, b) women died like flies in childbirth and c) we knew next to nothing about medicine. Then things starting improving for the general population and low and behold, we now started living long enough to die slower. Or maybe we just started dying slower full stop. Anyway, the result was the same.
Longer lives meant more time for tumours and other nasties to grow and metastasis and Cancer became something that everyone could eventually perish from, unlike dying of the flu which was once all the rage.
So, back to why bacon and everything nice is bad for you. We all know that if we believed everything we read about what not to eat, we would spend one day downing red wine like it was going out of fashion and the next day avoiding it like the plague- another faster and more spectacular way to die.
So what is true?
According to The Cancer Council of Australia (and there is a clue in the name as to how well informed they are on the subject) you DO NOT have to give up delightful anti-pasta treats to avoid The Big C.
What you do need to do is to think about the things that are firmly established by seriously well informed specialists all over the World who have put their knowledge together and come up with the statistics on the most likely causes of accelerated cancer numbers in men and women based on years of research.
None of it is terribly new or sexy, and it doesn’t grab headlines the way ‘ GIVE UP CHEESE OR YOU’LL DIE’ does, but it’s real and it’s true and it’s a tad boring.
Number one. Smoking. Stop it now. Seriously. It IS giving you cancer.
More than a third of all cancers diagnosed are related back to the chemicals and toxic substances found specifically in cigarettes. And it’s not just lung cancer. The Cancer Council of Australia lists 13 other sites in the body where the carcinogens in cigarettes can be DIRECTLY LINKED to the cancers formed there. You may think you can’t stop. You will, one way or the other, either by will power, or an early death. Stop smoking. It’s stupid, it’s feeding greedy companies that do not deserve your money, and it’s making you sick.
Number two. Stop being fat, do some exercise TODAY.
Obesity accounts for around 15 per cent of cancers, with breast and bowel cancer the ones you need to worry about the most. Bowel cancer. The one where doctors spend time with your poop, and everything becomes about your poop. Does it sound like fun? No. It’s not fun and it’s totally lacking in dignity and you can help prevent it by NOT being obese, and getting fitter. Breast cancer gets a lot of press (pardon the pun, anyone having had a mammogram has been pressed already) but being overweight is not helping ladies. Get it sorted. Aim to lose 10% of your body weight. Then once that is done, lose another 10%. You can do it. Take it slowly, lose it sensibly, and keep checking those puppies. Men get breast cancer too, so gents, keep an eye out for any changes in your chest, and don’t be all mucho, go and talk to a doctor and ask for a proper checkup.
Number three. Booze. Sorry, but there it is. If you want to live healthily for longer, you need to cut back.
Alcohol accounts for 4 per cent of cancers. It’s identified as a cause of cancers of the mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (a section of the throat), oesophagus, bowel (in men) and breast in women.
A glass of red wine can and does assist heart function, a bottle a day is going to kill you, and not in a fun way. Mouth and throat cancers are UNSEXY. Period. No one is telling you to give it up altogether, but daily drinking is bad for you on a number of levels, and the latest research shows that a daily tipple is all it takes to increase the risk of breast cancer to a noticeable degree. You do not have to be a lush to fall into this 4% category, just a regular drinker. Chose a few days a week where you give it a rest, and you will allow your body the time it needs to work the toxins out of your body. Plus, you might drop a few pounds, which will help the Number two cause as mentioned earlier.
And finally, the Number four main culprit in cancer causing Carcinogens is…..The Sun.
In Australia, this makes perfect sense, the Sun is WAY hot down under, but it’s not just the Aussie Sun causing this problem.
Remember, this research has been compiled over a number of years from specialists all over the World.
Just under 4% of ALL Cancers are skin cancer, and that’s a lot. Sitting out sunbathing (or sun BAKING) is damn dangerous.
Trust me, I speak from experience. Skin cancer is often ignored by those from cooler climates, but it sneaks up and gets them too. Wearing sunblock, keeping out of the Midday Sun and wearing a hat or long sleeved shirt will help protect your skin.
Interestingly the doctors who compiled this list did not go on and on about staying as pale as a ghost, they just don’t want you to fry yourself. A little sun exposure is good for Vitamin D levels and it’s also good for the soul, but tanning your hide until you look like a crocodile skin handbag is NOT as sexy as you think, and it will put an enourmous amount of pressure on your body to fight off all the bad UV that wants to kill you.
So there you have it.
Eat smoky bacon, but don’t smoke, and don’t eat so much that you get as fat as a pig, and don’t wash it down with 10 beers, or whilst sitting on a sunbed. Not EVERYTHING gives you cancer, but these 4 things do, so be smart and do what the doctor tells you, and you’ll- hopefully- live to play another day