Shifnal Chiropractic Clinic

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Healthy Living and Cancer


Two topics that are talked about almost ad nauseum in the press and other publications – living well, and cancer.  I do try not to be boring with these little blogs of mine, but recent research caught my eye, and I thought it was worth a mention.  A team at Harvard University in America recently estimated that more than half of cancer deaths could be prevented by people living healthier lives.

That’s huge.  Think about it – for every family who has lost two people to cancer (and that’s a lot of families, when you think about how common cancer is in its various forms) it should be possible for one of those people to still be alive – or at least, not to have died from cancer.

Factors such as not smoking, regular exercise, drinking in moderation and having a body mass index between 18.5 and 27.5 were all taken as signs of being “low-risk”, whereas those who didn’t fit into those criteria were evaluated as being “high-risk”.  Once the results had been adjusted to the general population, the researchers showed that up to 40% of cancers and 70% of cancer deaths could have been prevented.

Now, I am a realist.  I don’t expect everyone to live uber-healthy lifestyles, never letting a drop of alcohol pass their lips and religiously exercising in all the right ways for all the right amounts.  And let’s face it – we’re all going to die of something.  If not cancer, then something else will carry us off eventually.  But note that the criteria in the study were merely “regular” exercise, and “moderate” drinking.  In other words, you’re still allowed to enjoy life, while trying to make sure a truly horrible disease doesn’t carry you off.  And the thing about a lot of cancers is they don’t wait for you to be ready to go, or for your family to be grown up and independent.  It takes you whenever it chooses.  Think of the small child whose mother is taken by breast cancer at just 40 years old.  Or the teenager whose father succumbs to lung cancer and will never see them finish school and start their career.  If living a little more healthily means that 70% of those losses never happen, it’s got to be worth being nagged a little to take better care of yourself?!

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