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Real Versus Hyped


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?"

The Scan

Booster Push

New data shows a decline in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy over time, which the New York Times says Pfizer is using to argue its case for a booster, even as the lower efficacy remains high.

With Help from Mr. Fluffington, PurrhD

Cats could make good study animals for genetic research, the University of Missouri's Leslie Lyons tells the Atlantic.

Man Charged With Threatening to Harm Fauci, Collins

The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

Nature Papers Present Approach to Find Natural Products, Method to ID Cancer Driver Mutations, More

In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.