As a near fifty year old male, I am of an age, old enough to remember when food was predominantly preserved using salt. Although, I was also of a generation when Orange squash became all the rage and only in more recent years was it discovered the poor behaviour of some children was directly linked to the high 'E' numbers that were finding their way into these drinks and all manner of foods. However more recently studies are now leaning towards the conclusion that we humans are now almost 50% more likely to contract cancer. I saw this headline on the BBC News website, but almost as disturbing as the headline, is the almost apathetic response to such a terrifying statistic.
Now please don't interpret anything that I am writing about as in anyway callous or uncaring in respect of anyone who has contracted such a horrible disease. Indeed my ex-wife, who when we were still married also contracted cancer, and thanks to the skill of the Royal Marsden is even today 20 years following treatment now fit and healthy.
As a society we are told that heart failure and heart disease is on the decrease, and I would suggest as an ex-smoker that the decline in smoking, may well have been the largest contributor to this decline. But WHY, with all the advances in treatments for the many differing types of cancer is this particular disease apparently on the increase. No one seems to have particular handle as to why, or if they have they are not saying. So let me just throw a few reasons out there to be chewed over and be spat out if necessary. Also in no way is this a holier-than-though perspective, as I will still drive my car, I will still buy a fizzy drink with countless preservatives and when I have the opportunity will indulge in a famous brand of burger, which all and sundry would have us believe is the food of Satan.
Some cancer is undoubtedly genetic, although as little as 30 years ago this was very much belittled by the medical profession. But, it is the increase in cancers which bemuses me. Are we as carbon based life forms supposed to ingest, inhale and inject certain man made or manipulated substances. We know cigarette smoke is harmful to us, and we have also at a lower level been made aware of carcinogens contained in vehicle exhausts. Could it be the power of the oil producing nations or companies that make Trillions for their shareholders, who would rather (as the tobacco companies did for many years) ignore/cover up, the potential link with rising cancer cases. We all know there are alternatives but these have reached us as an almost embarrassed solution with proponents and opponents, suggesting that each has its own shortfalls.
This of course brings me onto our food. I was brought up eating and being ignorant of any alternative for 'Anchor' butter. I do however remember the first time Margarine first hit our table. Now I know nothing of the scientific benefits one against the other. But, common sense tells me that something artificial is generally not going to be as good for me as something which is made from natural ingredients. The proof is of course in the tasting. I have recently bought some Anchor butter which I have not had since I was a child, and when eventually thawing it out enough to spread on my cold toast and covered with marmalade. WOW! I could actually taste the butter which added to my enjoyment of a common start to the day. So then I asked myself, why did we ever stop eating butter in favour of margarine? I seem to remember we were told it was healthier for us! Keeping our cholesterol down and stopping us from having heart attacks. This was in an age when smoking was pretty much at its peak. Of course these days Cholesterol is just a number. I have had two doctors actually say this to me!
I think only when alternative forms of clean fuels, organic foods (which when I was young was just called 'Food') and healthier lifestyles are upon us, and are the norm. Only then will we be told about how cancers increased to such levels due to the greed of companies and the laziness of the consumer to either challenge what we were eating and why we were using such fuels which created such carcinogens!
Half of UK population 'will get cancer in lifetime' http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22796220