I had one of those Emails today. The ones that are designed to scare you into parting with money to cover you against something that might or might not happen. Medical insurance, but specifically cancer insurance.
It began with 'Did you know that you have a 50% chance of getting cancer?'
Well that seemed to imply that half the population gets it. I have not noticed a preponderance of lumpy people going about. It's meant to imply just that, but what it actually says is something different. What it actually says is mathematically correct but you're not meant to notice that.
You either have cancer or you don't. There is no period of 'getting' cancer. One cell turns cancerous, you have cancer. It happens a lot but your immune system catches them and beats them to death. Then you don't have cancer. Sometimes the cancerous cell dodges the Cell Police and grows, and manages to produce enough of a lump of cells that the immune system says "Oh shit" and goes and hides in a lymph node.
The point is that the 50% applies to you as an individual, not to the population as a whole. At any specific time, any individual either has cancer or does not have cancer. Yes or no. There is no 'maybe'. Therefore, at any point between birth and death your chance of having a cancer is 50%, the same as the chance of you not having one.
Their opening statement is logically correct but designed to imply that half the world will turn lumpy tomorrow unless they send money to Lumps-R-Us cancer insurance. It's a great insurance business when you look at real cancer rates.
Hardly any of their customers will ever claim and that number is further reduced because those who take up the offer are those who are concerned about their health and avoid all deadly carcinogens such as second-hand smoke, boozer's breath, fat people, burgers, salt, dandelions, string vests, Tunisia and spaghetti. All are equally likely to make such people wake up one morning to find another head growing out of their arse beside the one they normally keep there.
You know why GPs often miss the early stages of cancers, including that current terror, lung cancer? It's because they see it so rarely. Some go their entire careers without seeing a single cancer case. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard "I work in a hospice and I've seen what smoking will do to you. Everyone who smokes dies in agony". If you work in a hospice then the only patients you see are terminally ill patients. All of them are dying because that is where the medics put them all. If cancer/emphysema/leprosy/mange/whatever current scare were as prevalent as we are led to believe then there would be a hospice in every second street. I don't think I've ever seen one.
Every so often we hear about a cure for cancer. Here's the latest. They are trumpeted and then they disappear. I don't believe cancer will ever be cured by a simple injection even if it could be. The NHS and other vested interests will not allow it.
How can they scare us into stopping smoking, stopping drinking, stopping eating meat, stuffing ourselves with approved foods and not touching non-approved foods if we can say "Cancer? No problem, one injection and it's fixed."
How can the Dreadful Arnott howl and wail that cutting her funding will result in preschool smoking clubs and an entire generation growing up to look like the Elephant Man if cancer can be cured with a single injection?
The most terrifying thing to those old Puritans who demanded that everyone be celibate was the invention of penicillin. Suddenly, sexually transmitted diseases were not so scary any more. "Infected by a prick? Cure it with another". That wasn't the slogan but it should have been.
No, if that particular bogeyman could be cured by a few drops of stuff in a syringe, too many vested interests would lose their power to terrify us. They aren't going to let it happen.
If you want to see a cure, you first have to get rid of all those who use cancer as a means to control behaviour. That will not be easy.