The Link Between Food & Healthcare Reform

Also must-read this Sunday is Michael Pollan’s NY Times Op-Ed piece from Wednesday.  Nice cap to my week of ranting on the dismantling of rationality when it comes to lifestyle choices that directly impact one’s health, here and here.

  • skshiraz

    Thanks for posting this–I could not agree more with Pollan’s points. As a person who spends time both in Los Angeles and Sweden, I think the way we eat here in the US versus the Scandanavian diet has a profound impact on the morbidity associated with routine and emergency surgical procedures, and on chronic illnesses…But try explaining that to a 24 year old with a BMI of 45– In that case I am just the bad guy for pointing out the increased risks or worse am acused of being incompassionate..Not to mention the effect our way of eating and obesity has on cancer rates. Keep up the rant — its useful for us to be reminded on a daily basis that we are responsbile for our outcomes.

    • Rafe Furst

      I know what you mean about calling a spade a spade and getting backlash for it. Has to do with deep-seated insecurities (doesn’t everything?) and is an example of a complex system defending itself. In this case the complex system is a construct/agent in the mind of the human.

      • alexgolubev

        Political correctness smells of second hand smoke. :)

  • sherin

    But seriously–insecurity or not: why is it that someone with a BMI of 40, still chooses to have 2 chocolate chip muffins for breakfast–Is it the message not out there– That obesity causes cancer and chronic illness? Reform in the food industry would be a great and much needed start and overall whould cost us a lot less as a society. Maybe we could start with a ban on junk food ads…. nothing is worse than watching children’s TV punctuated by all the terrible food ads. California could lead the way!
    And –please pardon my ignorance on this matter–but what exactly is your interest in cancer research? I appreciate all your excellent postings, and have heard great things about your fund raising efforts from a mutual friend. Please let me know if I can help in this arena, as work in the area of breast and gastointestinal cancers. I do protest the recent posting that “nothing has been accomplished” in the last 100 years by one of your colleagues–Is that really what you think?

    If you take each cancer as a unique entity–many of the trends are very encouraging, and mortality rates are decreasing in many common cancers. Gene-expression profiling is really the next thing in tailoring future therapy to suit individual needs and its prertty much here for breast and colorectal cancers.

    • Rafe Furst

      I’m not sure about bans, but I think taxing junk food might be in order. At the least it will help subsidize the cost of healthy food for those of us who don’t want to die a premature and slow, complicated death.

    • Rafe Furst

      If you click on the Cancer link in the Category Cloud to the right, you’ll see all my postings on cancer. If you read them chronologically (click on the Older Posts link at the bottom of that page), you’ll get my historical background.

      Regarding the progress, in terms of overall age-adjusted mortality rate from all cancers combined, I agree with the statement that we’ve made virtually no progress. The data is fairly incontrovertible on this point. But I’ve come to the tentative conclusion that there has been lots of progress made towards the eventual goal of curing/avoiding cancer and that the statistics will eventually show a rapid acceleration.

      I have not made this fact public yet (until now I guess), but I’m making a documentary on the science of cancer. If you are a researcher or clinician of some sort and are interested in participating, I’d be happy to interview you. Contact me on Facebook and we can talk about the details.

      • sherin

        Rafe, Thanks for your answer. And let me say I am glad to hear you are raising awareness and think that a documentary like this will be great. The issues regarding the science of cancer are at once exciting, and extremely complex. I am both a clinican and a cancer reseracher and would love to begin a dialogue with you. It is only in this way that we can further achieve our common goal of understanding, preventing, and eradicating cancer. I am part of a big community of cinicians and reserachers focused on cancer so am sure you can interview many of my colleagues as well,. We are pretty low profile people and dont get out much-lol and not sure how well we would do on camera : ) but we are all sure to learn a lot from one another, and have enjoyed reading your posts.

      • sherin

        And regarding the “data” publiched in Fortune magazine–all cancers can not be lumped together as some are increasing in incidence and even withhin a type of cancer there is a lot of heterogeneity. Please check out the survial stats posted on the ACS website for 2008
        http://www.cancer.org/docroot/STT/stt_0_2008.asp?sitearea=STT&level=1

  • Tiltmom

    Sherin, I’d suggest you read the book, _The End Of Overeating_ by David Kessler.

    Speaking only for myself, I eat healthier than almost anyone I know, yet I find it difficult to avoid certain foods that I know are problematic for me. There’s more to it than just lack of willpower.

  • sherin

    Thanks for the suggestion, TM. Book looks interesting. My point is If you are eating healhy and excercising, its not the occaisional misadventure that leads to a BMI of 41. Sustained obestiy is the equivalent cancer risk as smoking–Also not a problem due to lack of willpower. Rates of NASH due to fatty liver replacement are rising so quickly that we willl soon be facing an unprecedent number of liver cancers…which has very few treatment options as present.