Another week, another doom-laden health statistic. On the weekend, there were reports that cancer rates in children had gone up by 40 per cent in 16 years. The number of cases of colon cancer in children and young people is up 200 per cent, while thyroid-cancer rates have more than doubled, according to new analysis of government statistics carried out by Children with Cancer UK.
And if that weren’t enough to make you pause and ponder death and disease awhile, you might be interested to know that the rise in children’s cancer rates is also all your fault – or humanity’s fault, at least. Professor Denis Henshaw, scientific director at Children with Cancer UK, has blamed the rise on lifestyle and environmental factors. His list of possible causes includes hairdryers, burnt barbecues, home gadgets and pregnant mothers’ diets.
Henshaw told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We were shocked to see the figures, and it’s the modern lifestyle, I’m afraid. Many items on the list of environmental causes are now known to be carcinogenic, such as air pollution and pesticides and solvents… What’s worrying is it is very hard to avoid a lot of these things. How can you avoid air pollution? It sometimes feels like we are fighting a losing battle.’
This is not the first time society and its perceived excesses have been blamed for the ills of the world. Climate-change activists want us to stop flying those carbon-guzzling airplanes and using up the planet’s finite resources. By the same token, we are told to stop selfishly having children as they, too, will suck up resources and contribute to overpopulation.
Just last week there were reports that the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group was considering delaying non-life-threatening treatments for obese patients or those who smoke. The insinuation being that they deserve to suffer because it is their own decadent lifestyles that got them into trouble in the first place.