It seems like everything these days can increase a person's risk for cancer — bacon, red meat, chemicals in soda. But a new study in Lancet Oncology finds that constantly worrying about what could ruin your health could, in itself, ruin your health, says Forbes contributor Trevor Butterworth. "Why? Very simply, the more the media reports on hypothetical cancer risks, the more you are likely to ignore actual avoidable cancer risks," Butterworth adds.
The paper's author, cancer researcher Bernard Stewart, says that there is a consensus on the kinds of lifestyle choices people can make to lower their risk of certain cancers — not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising, not lying in the sun, and so on. But focusing on causes of cancer like pollutants or chemicals in food, and making "assessments of the carcinogenicity of particular chemicals are of little assistance in prevention of cancer," Stewart adds. "Anxiety concerning insidious cancer causation could divert attention from proven means of cancer prevention."
Does this mean, Forbes' Butterworth adds, that "most people simply ignore the Muzak of risk because that's what risk has become, constant, cheap and derivative, like bad television?"