Breast cancer screening and why the media are big fat copy cats

The Good Life Letter

Friday 4th November 2011

  • Breast cancer screening
  • Discover where lazy news editors are getting their stories from - you always read it here first
  • Make healthy food your priority

Breast cancer screening needs to be improved

In my letter towards the end of September I told you about my concerns over the diagnostic approach for women's health issues

Well blow me down if the whole news media doesn't light up to the fact last week and start to castigate the failings in the technology used to detect breast cancer.

In many of the pieces I have read, they discuss how for every life saved from detection, ten healthy women have unnecessary surgery.

There is a major failing in this old-school technology which the screening programme uses and has prompted the cancer 'Czar' Sir Mike Richards to mount a review.

Given that lifestyle changes has reduced the risk factor for breast cancer and that treatment has improved significantly, it would be nice to think that the detection service could make equivalent advances.

I would still endorse the call for all women to be checked at a screening centre as well as performing their own weekly self assessment, after all the earlier this horrible condition is found the better the prognosis.

But, I will repeat my call for advanced and modern solutions to be put in place for helping women check for signs, and protect their dignity at the same time.

So, editors of the world and managers of the NHS - please get onto it!

I'm being watched! It's a conspiracy!

Over breakfast yesterday Lara looked up from the pile of newspapers on the table and said she thought there was a mole in the house.

I immediately reached for the gardening gloves and was about to don wellies and head out to see the damage to my lawn, but no it seems the good Mrs Collins wasn't talking about an itinerant creature - but a journalist!

After I read the piece she was referring to I understood what she was talking about.

It looks like the news editors on the nationals have begun to read my letters, and they aren't paying for my services.

I retired to the office and began a frantic hunt back through the last two weeks news articles and began to see a pattern emerge.

I'm not usually one for paranoia, but I think I'm being watched!

There in black and white was the evidence, a few days after I had covered the stories the papers were picking up the same stuff and running their own versions.

Well that's just plain cheeky... although having said that, I suppose I should feel vindicated in my work.

Fats and carbohydrates

I love the way various governments try to 'help' develop an improvement in their nations health - if for no other reason than it usually descends into a cack-handed mess.

So, when I saw that the progressive Danes had introduced a 'Fat Tax' where they would charge consumers 2.3% more for products with saturated fat contents, I was speculating how this could be applied elsewhere.

Then a few days later I was regaling you with my thoughts about carbohydrates in the diet and how food producers are sneaking bad stuff in as fillers to make unpalatable junk acceptable

Well, it seems like this approach struck a chord with someone out there because a few days later we get new advice from our health overlords to say we should be eating more calories not less.

Hold on a minute... several of you thought I'd had a senior moment when it came to extolling the virtues of sugar-rich honey on the one hand and castigating manufacturers for selling us sugar on the other.

But, here are our leaders doing a schizophrenic two-step over national food guidelines.

What they are actually saying is that in order to control obesity they are going to advise us to eat about 7% MORE calories... how does that work?

The cynic in me would say that this makes it easier for manufacturers to justify their sugary product...

...thankfully the good folk at the Children's Food Campaign agree with me saying that this initiative is a 'deeply disappointing and utterly inadequate response that is high in rhetoric and lacking in substance, it is nothing less than an abdication of the Government's responsibility to protect public health.'

Hear, hear - I concur with the comments of the last speaker!

Silly season thinking about Seasonal Affective Disorder

The research which contributes to our understanding about how changes in daily light patterns can have significant consequences for health is a collection of very powerful peer reviewed work - this was never in doubt until the Daily Mail produced a totally confusing article.

I had to read it several times before I could work out whether they were saying that SAD was a real phenomenon or not. It turns out that DO think it is, but also say that we are suffering by being exposed to too much artificial light from fluorescent tubes which does us no good at all.

Make sure you get a therapeutic light if you suffer from winter blues.

It did beg the question about what you thought though.

So, I have decided to do a bit of research for myself using an online survey tool and I would be really interested to find out what you think about the whole SAD light thing - this will take no more than five minutes to complete.

If you are interested in helping me get a first hand experience about your views on the whole SAD thing please click here:

Of course, I'll let you know what the results are...

They are stealing my book idea as well!

Only the other day, I mentioned that I was on the verge of publishing a seasonal [healthy food cookbook], which had been the sum total of every waking hour's work for the last six months.

Today I picked up a copy of the Daily Express and lo and behold they have run a two page spread about eating yourself healthy!

It's a conspiracy I tell you... but I'm fighting back.

If you would like to guarantee yourself a copy of my new tome on the day it gets delivered from the printers, please click here and you will get the chance to put your name down on the priority list without obligation to purchase.
 
The final word

A message for the editors and journos out there... if you are reading my letters then you are very welcome as our guests, but please give me a mention if you follow my storylines... I always mention you if I use your stuff!

It's only fair.

Until Sunday when I get to tell you about a significant problem with immigration - and it's not what you might be expecting... not by a long way.

Yours as always,

 

 


 

 

 

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