THERE is a cancer conspiracy theory that perpetually does the rounds — some people believe that drug companies have a cure for cancer and that they are not sharing it with the rest of us because they can make more money as things are.
Now, we all know that drug companies are profit driven organisations. We also all know that when profit-making is our main priority, we can be tempted to cut corners, bend our morals and ethics if it means extra money for us.
However, the cancer conspiracy is just utterly ridiculous. If someone has found a cure for cancer and had somehow managed to keep it a secret, then they are much better at concealing secrets than me. If I was working for a drug company, or any other organisation, for that matter and I discovered a cure for cancer on a Friday evening, everyone in the world would know about it by Monday morning.
I would not give a hoot, about the policies of the company I was working for: I would be ringing everyone I ever knew to tell them that I had just cured cancer; I would post it on Facebook; and I would set up new social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat: The Man Who Cured Cancer @manwhocuredcancer #cancercured.
I would personally e-mail every news organisation in the world to let them know of my achievement. I would send my best profile picture to Time magazine and let them know that I would be expecting to being named Time magazine Person of the Year.
I would make no secret of the fact, that I would be expecting an OBE and a Nobel prize. I would quit my job and hire an agent to organise all the sponsorship deals that I will be signing.
The man who cured cancer flies Virgin.
The man who cured cancer trains in Nike.
The man who cured cancer shaves with Gillette etc etc.
There would be book deals, movies, talks. I would want Brad Pitt to play me (obviously), so people think I am really cool and attractive.
You get the picture – if someone cures cancer they would find it very difficult to resist the allure of the potential fame and riches they could command (aside from the chance to save lives of course!).
The truth of cancer is this: while it is very unfortunate and unlucky to get cancer, we can take steps to significantly reduce the risk of getting many of them. For a lot of cancers, we don’t need a cure because we know how to prevent them. We know the causes and we know how to avoid and eliminate those causes.
We know that you can greatly reduce your chances of getting cancer by: not smoking; not drinking alcohol; not eating added sugar; eating a healthy diet; staying hydrated; being sun smart; and managing stress appropriately with a combination of exercising, having fun, relaxing and getting enough sleep.
When people mention the cancer conspiracy in the pharmacy to me, I tell them to forget about the cure and ask yourself this. Do you want to get cancer?
If your answer is no, remember that actions speak louder than words. Change your lifestyle – it can be so easy once you decide that you want to do it – and you will greatly reduce your risk of getting cancer. In fact, according to cancer research UK, 4 in 10 UK cases of cancer can be prevented through lifestyle changes.
Time to focus less on conspiracy and more on making positive changes that can have a real impact on your health.
Peter Kelly is a community pharmacist based in London. He has an interest in public health