Will you live forever?
I’m sorry to disappoint you, but statistically you have a 100 percent chance
of dying. Yes, forget about “health” medications, statistics will prove it.
Did you know, for example, that everyone dies within six months of their
birthdays? They do, either before or after (do the math). Did you know that
95 percent of all the people who died in Pattaya last year wore shoes? The
statistics would then have you believe that shoes were the greatest killer
of mankind (not sure where that puts flip-flops).
A couple of years ago, the Cancer
Council of Australia produced a sober warning message (at this time of year
anyway), “Quit drinking to cut cancer risk.” The Cancer Council went on
further to proclaim, “New evidence reveals the extent of alcohol’s
contribution to cancer.”
Now, having been photographed with the
odd glass of wine in my hand on more than one occasion, I was immediately
interested. Should I go on the wagon tomorrow? (“Today” was being a bit
soon, I thought.)
I continued reading, “Cancer Council
Australia has revised dramatically upwards its estimate of alcohol’s
contribution to new cancer cases and issued its strongest warning yet that
people worried by any link should avoid drinking altogether.”
It appeared that the cancers involved
were bowel and breast and the figures indicated that these were nearly
two-thirds of all alcohol-related cancers, overtaking those of the mouth,
throat and esophagus.
More chilling news was that the
Convener of the Public Health Association of Australia’s alcohol expert
group, said he would write to the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation
Ministerial Council, to request it mandate health warnings on bottles. (It
may be of interest to you that in Thailand there is an anti-alcohol group as
well as the anti-smoking lobby).
Now there are many individuals
predicting the end of the world, as well as Scandinavian teenagers, so how
great a threat was this really? The group media release went on, “New
evidence implicating alcohol in the development of bowel and breast cancer
meant drinking probably caused about 5.6 percent of cancers in Australia.
This was nearly double the 3.1 percent figure it nominated in its last
assessment, in 2008.”
Using their own figures we are looking
at 94.4 percent were not caused by alcohol.
So now we are getting to the
nitty-gritty of all this. If we accept that they have managed to “prove”
(beyond reasonable doubt) that alcohol does indeed “cause” 5.6 percent of
cancers, what does this mean? Since breast and bowel cancers are only two
thirds of the alcohol-related cancers (their mathematics, not mine), this
means that together they make up 3.7 percent of the cancers in Australia.
Let’s split the figure and make it 1.85 percent each. I remain somewhat
underwhelmed, I am afraid. These figures can be read to suggest that 98.15
percent of breast cancers are not related to alcohol ingestion, and
similarly the figures for bowel cancer.
Now don’t get me wrong here. I am not
advocating we all get smashed every night, and indeed I do not think we
should drink alcohol every day. However there are greater risks from alcohol
intake than breast or bowel cancer. Liver damage for starters.
So if you are a person who likes a
drink or three and would like to check your liver function we do have a GI
and Liver Center that would be happy to check for you. Telephone 1719 for an