Vesta44 has a great post today about an article which claims exercise can help reduce breast cancer risk in women. How does the magic exercise pill work? Why, by reducing “the pounds,” (i.e., icky evil FATZ), of course! And we all know that extra of “the pounds” has been shown to be an automatic death sentence, leaving anyone over forty diabetic, in constant cardiac arrest, and riddled with cancers, right?
The diabetes and cardiac part we’ll wait on: La Wade is still experimenting on fat mice to get her slice of the anti-obesity wonder drug pie, so perhaps she’ll turn up the diabetes/heart disease/cancer/ruining pictures/ruining moment miracle cure soon. Stay tuned to the totally objective analyses on Phat Science for that one, folks! Oh, did I mention that because all the major studies claim a weight loss success rate of between 0% and 20% (the higher one being only a one-year study), we can therefore only conclude that weight loss success rates are greater than 0% and less than 100%? (i.e., we can’t conclude anything about weight loss success rates) Oh wait, that’s a logical fallacy? Ya don’t say? Damn that wily Carl Sagan and his Baloney Toolbox. You’re going to have to ask La Wade how she arrived at *that* particular conclusion!
But back to our original programming. So fat = cancer (risk!) right? You know what also equal cancer risk? Being tall. Yup, says so right here.
They found that the risk of experiencing breast cancer increased by 7% with each 5cm increase in height for post-menopausal women, with a marginally increased risk among pre-menopausal women.
But that’s not all! You couldn’t write an article about injecting something about teh tehriffic tehrible fatz in it, could you?
Women who are significantly overweight later in life are 26% more likely to develop breast cancer compared with those of average weight.
That’s right. So how do we interpret that as actual personal, and not comparative risk? Right now, the average risk is about 12% per person (and that’s averaged over women who do and do not have genetic predispositions. So your risk is much less than that if you aren’t genetically predisposed). So since “significantly” overweight women (and by overweight, they’re using BMI definitions — so this isn’t even obese, people) will get breast cancer at a rate of 1.26 to every 1 non-overweight woman, then their risk for getting breast cancer is a whopping 15.12%.
So being “significantly overweight” earns you a 3% higher actual risk of getting breast cancer. See how statistics are manipulated in order to look scarier than they actually are?
But wait, there’s more from this fun little article:
Paradoxically, however, being obese appears to have a protective effect in women before the menopause.
Since they’re scared of stating this stat (scared of losing their grant money, that is), we don’t know how *much* of a protective effect being obese before menopause has. It’s not good marketing to use comparative statistics on the non-lucrative stats, you know.
Even the article writer seems to miss this last one. The article title is “Tall + Fat = Cancer”? Where did this person graduate from, the Hurst School of Yellow Journalism? Or just Clown College? Jesus, really.
So it seems like there isn’t some magical prescription to make sure you don’t get cancer. If you’re not genetically predisposed, your risk is small, and if you’re overweight it’s a tiny bit higher, and if you’re obese before menopause it’s a tiny bit lower. Therefore, “diet and exercise reduces cancer risk by shedding pounds” is a fallacy.
And that, folks, is as simple as that.