Health Scare of the Day

I don’t know about you, but I just love these health scares that the BBC trots out verbatim on an almost daily basis, with nary a nod to investigative journalism. My first scan of the page is always to look for key words and sure enough, they are here in this one:

A link between eating processed meat, such as bacon or sausages, and pancreatic cancer has been suggested by researchers in Sweden.

We start with “has been suggested”. So, not actually demonstrated to be true, then. The article goes on to include; “may be down to” and finishes up with the rather wonderful

“The jury is still out as to whether meat is a definite risk factor for pancreatic cancer and more large studies are needed to confirm this, but this new analysis suggests processed meat may be playing a role.”

In other words, they are flying kites. Me, I’ll eat that sausage and take the risk, frankly. Yeah, sure, I might shorten my life a bit, bit dammit, popping my clogs after a lifetime of fry-ups seems like bliss compared with living the lives dictated to us by the health Nazis.

Still, if the bacon and sausage on your full English doesn’t get you…

However, she pointed out that smoking was a much greater risk factor.

You knew that one was coming, didn’t you?

The World Cancer Research Fund has a solution to the massive problem of people stuffing their faces with unapproved foodstuffs (the Full English to you and I):

The World Cancer Research Fund has advised people to completely avoid processed meat.

Right. So, on the one hand, muesli and on the other, the fry-up. Choices, choices…

Ah, bugger it, the fry-up gets my vote.

23 comments for “Health Scare of the Day

  1. Mudplugger
    January 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    The key fact to remember is that all the healthy-living, exercise, fresh air, non-smoking, teetotalling, 5-a-day, jogging and dieting regimes on the planet do not change the outcome – we’re all going to die.
    There may be some marginal effect on the timescale in some circumstances, but the outcome is always the same.
    As my very wise father advised, “If you don’t smoke, don’t drink and don’t go with mucky women, you won’t necessarily live any longer, it will just feel like it”. (He made it to 86 after a lifetime of enthusiastically enjoying at least two of the items on the list.)

  2. Dominic Allkins
    January 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Fry up gets my vote too.

    Eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, fried bread, toast and a big coffee.


    • January 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      I’ve had to give up the coffee (migraines). And I still miss it…

      • January 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm

        LR; Were you drinking instant (Even gives caffeine addict moi headaches) or pukka ground filter coffee with cream and brown sugar (No hint of aspartame)?

        I found making the shift to fresh brewed filter coffee without artificial additives (Medium roast) stopped the ‘caffeine induced’ headaches. Nowadays I wouldn’t touch instant, and would consider it an insult if served to me as customer or guest.

        Be aware also that a cup of English breakfast tea with of without milk and sugar has as much, if not more caffeine in it than the equivalent amount of coffee. Also darker coffee roasts have a lower caffeine content than medium roast. Go figure. Look it up for yourself.

        • January 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

          Instant? You insult me sir!

          I tried all sorts – don’t take sugar. In the end, giving up was the only solution. Not had a migraine for about two years. But by God, do I still miss that aroma and taste.

          • January 14, 2012 at 8:45 pm

            No insult intended, but I stopped getting the band of iron around my head when I gave up artificial sweeteners.

            Oddly enough, I haven’t had ‘coffee head’ since moving overseas. Then again, I only use fresh ground, freshly brewed. Leaving coffee standing too long in the pot makes it taste too bitter for my palate. Any time you’re in the neighbourhood….

            • January 14, 2012 at 9:49 pm

              I wasn’t being serious.

              As for the migraines it’s something in the coffee itself. Not sure what. I can drink one of those caffeine energy drinks and not suffer, so it isn’t as straightforward as that.

  3. @Sceptic_Tank
    January 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    The comments on the Sky News posting of this scare are well worth reading.

    • January 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Indeed they are.

      • January 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm

        can you put the link! It’s infuriating when somebody posts how wonderful XYZ is but then presumably doesn’t want others to enjoy it too

  4. john in cheshire
    January 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    These ‘reports’ have been with us on so many matters, for so many years, do you think anyone listens to them any more? If satire was still alive and well in our country, this would be an appropriate subject for it. But then the bbc is beyond satire; if it didn’t exist, no one would believe it ever could.

  5. January 13, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    It would seem that everyone has an expiration date in their genes. You can shorten the date with bad living, but you aren’t going to be able to extend it.
    And the problem with the expiration date is that none of us know when it is until it gets here.
    Just my opinion.

  6. nemesis
    January 14, 2012 at 12:10 am
  7. Rob F
    January 14, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Does ‘processing’ involving cooking meat in any way? Or, God forbid, adding salt?

    If so, then I’m going to eat all my meat raw from now on. It’s just more natural.

    I might eventually become a vegan yoga addict – then all I’d have to worry about would be infecting people with second-hand cabbage farts (and my suffering from groin strain and a bad back, of course).

  8. Rossa
    January 14, 2012 at 11:23 am

    “However, she pointed out that smoking was a much greater risk factor”

    So no smoked bacon or sausage then cos that more than doubles the risk factor πŸ™‚

  9. January 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Oh yes I f-ing love those, I could type those articles in my sleep…

    [Something enjoyable] increases risk of [nasty disease] by [made up percentage]: Shock.

    New research suggests that there could be a strong link between [something enjoyable] and [unpleassant disease]. Doctors at the [grandly named Institute] in [town] monitored [number of people for number of months/years] and the findings show that chances of contracting [something nasty] were fifty per cent higher in the group which dabbled in [enjoyable things].

    Out of a thousand people in the control group who abstained, only two contracted [something nasty] while of the thousand people in the group who enjoyed [something enjoyable], fifty per cent more contracted it.

    Marjorie Bitterface from Parents Against Enjoyment said “We are glad that to have found some scant evidence to support our prejudices and will be calling on the government to do more”

    Prof Fatface from the BMA said “We will be calling for more research into what is a serious and growing problem. if we can reduce consumption of [something enjoyable] then we will be able to save [made up number of lives] over the next [made up time period]”


    You only need to worry if they tack this bit on the end…

    “A spokesperson for the Dept of Health confirmed that there has been a [made up percentage] increase in admissions for [something nasty probably caused by enjoying yourself] over the last [made up time period] and said that funding had been put in place for an information campaign to warn young people about the dangers of [enjoying themselves]”

    If that last bit is missing you can ignore the whole article, if that last bit is there, then start worrying because it means that the government was behind this all along and paid for the research, set up the pressure groups and fakecharities etc.

    • January 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      I was hoping you would have done the maths on this, I looked in earlier hoping for your post: in my non-maths non-statistician training this looks like the risk goes from 1 in 80 to about 1.2 in 80, is that right?

    • Tattyfalarr
      January 15, 2012 at 4:23 am

      Brilliant comment.


  10. Able
    January 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Span Ows

    I accessed the figures from .gov websites and The British Pancreatic Cancer Society and posted over at Nanny Knows Best. Don’t know if the math is right but you could check.

    • January 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      Thanks Able! Yes looks right, mine was a couple of decimal points too great, 0.012 is closer

  11. Tattyfalarr
    January 15, 2012 at 4:18 am

    I read this while drinking a cup of coffee, smoking a fag and nibbling on a middle-of-the-night feast of two bacon butties on white bread dripping beautifully with butter.

    Better not go to sleep then in case I don’t wake up in the morning 😯

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