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to think BBC News cancer-scare stories are irresponsibly reported and scaremongering?

(38 Posts)
RedHotPokers Thu 21-Jul-11 14:23:06

Tall people more likely to develop cancer

I have been getting more and more annoyed by the BBCs constant need to report statistically vague health scare stories. I regularly listen to More or Less (statistics/number programme on R4) who often confirm what I suspect - that these news items are inaccurate, badly explained and not based on real risk.

I mean ffs what is the point in this article??

[disclaimer - I am a tall person! wink ]

sproggaaaaah Thu 21-Jul-11 14:33:05

I'm also tall. I saw that story and decided that it was probably based on correlation, so since being tall is unlikely to actually cause cancer I resolved not to worry.

Not sure why you've signalled out the Beeb, though. They're hardly alone in this sort of thing.

CroissantNeuf Thu 21-Jul-11 14:34:05

These sorts of articles always make me think of the way statistics or figures can be skewed to illustrate anything -my favourite is:

the great majority of people in this country have more than the average number of legs


C&P'd explanation - (if ‘average’ means ‘mean’). How can that be? Well, the great majority of people have two legs. Probably nobody has more than two. A minority of people, have only one leg, or no legs at all. So, if all the legs were divided out so that we all had the same number, we’d have a small amount less than two legs each. That is, the mean number of legs per person is a little less than two, and most of us have exactly two, so most of us have more legs than average

Fooffy Thu 21-Jul-11 14:37:35

It's irresponsible scaremongering. I just hope to God that DS doesn't hear this anywhere. He is already obssessed with death. This could push him over the edge. angry

(age 9 5ft 2in destined for 6ft 6in like DH)

TeaspoonThief Thu 21-Jul-11 14:40:59

Does this mean we're going to get a twist on the usual schpeel - "Well my mum was 5 foot 10 inches every day of her adult life and never got cancer...."

Rooble Thu 21-Jul-11 14:43:38

When they talked about it on the Today programme this morning it didn't sound at all scaremongery - they said although taller people were more likely to get cancer your height made far less of a difference than behavioural stuff lie smoking. Would you prefer they just do their research and keep it secret?

sausagesandmarmelade Thu 21-Jul-11 14:44:04

Sorry Croissant you've lost me....am completely befuddled!

Hubs and I were also a bit startled by the revelation about height and cancer as we are both pretty tall..........but what can you do?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 21-Jul-11 14:47:53

YABU. It has not been reported as a scare story. The item on the Today Programme this morning was very calm and unscary. The researcher responsible even said that it was more for curiosity value & understanding rather than something anyone could act upon.... we can't make ourselves shorter, obviously.

MindySimmons Thu 21-Jul-11 14:48:08

Think you might be over-reacting a tad - it makes it quite clear that in the overall risk factors, it is still very low. Read Bad Science a few months ago and once you look at the figures they quote then factor in all other risk factors etc and chances compared to other things, it's not scary but is very interesting (oh and I'm tall too!)

RedHotPokers Thu 21-Jul-11 14:48:56

I was thinking about lopping my legs off at the knees. Do you think that will help? wink

squeakytoy Thu 21-Jul-11 14:51:24

I am a short-arse, but that just means I am more likely to breath in more crap from the traffic and die of some pollution related cancer..... oh well...

I take these sort of reports with a pinch of salt, and just wonder at the fact that someone (probably the tax payer) is funding these people to come up with stating the bleeding obvious... or randomly putting a few figures together to make a shock headline.

Fooffy Thu 21-Jul-11 14:51:31

Actually yeah sort of.

If" although tall people are more likely to get cancer your height made far less of a difference than behavioural stuff like smoking " then really what was the point.
Be shorter? you can't do anything about it.

It's like saying you are more likely to get cancer if one ear is higher than the other but not as likely as if you smoke.

or you are more likely to get cancer if you are left handed but not as likely as if you smoke.

I don't see the point in this revelation.

RedHotPokers Thu 21-Jul-11 14:52:01

Didn't hear it on Today, but on BBC Breakfast. I didn't think it was very balanced on Breakfast tbh, but maybe I am being oversensitive.

Fooffy Thu 21-Jul-11 14:53:08

but there again I suppose I'm looking at this from a personal perspective.

TattyDevine Thu 21-Jul-11 14:56:55

I hate this kind of stuff.

Its this kind of thing that makes people think they will get breast cancer from using anti-perspirant or cancer from using hair dye.

There was one the other day saying "obese people more likely to get breast cancer". Well duh. I thought we'd established the obesity cancer link ages ago. And yes, I know they were specifically talking about breast cancer, an oestrogen dominance, but how the hell do they take other factors out of "obesity" like for instance the fact that a lot of obese people also like to drink too much alcohol, which is sometimes why they got obese or something that contributed to it, etc etc...arghrrr.

EVERYTHING IS BAD FOR YOU PARTICULARLY BEING TALL

That is all.

ledkr Thu 21-Jul-11 14:59:50

Im a short arse and have had cancer,im going to throw away all mt high heels so i dont get a reccurance grin

WhipMeIndiana Thu 21-Jul-11 15:01:12

the doctor they had on said
it might be higher for tall people because
1. they have more growth instructions in their dna = more abnormal growth too

2. <and, the best> the risk of cancers might be higher in tall people... as they have more cells.

mrsrhodgilbert Thu 21-Jul-11 15:03:03

I think the BBC breakfast news are obsessed with cancer and ill health generally. My dh, who has lost both parents to cancer, can hardly watch it and finds it a hugely depressing start to the day in general. They have no time to go into a subject in enough depth to come up with clear, factual reporting and conclusions and yet they do it several times a week. In fact I am beginning to believe that the BBC look at what is/has been in the Daily Mail and follow up on it. The Jeremy Vine show is definitely the Daily Mail of the airwaves, I have to turn off, it's usually sensationalist tripe.

Cheeseandharps Thu 21-Jul-11 15:06:09

I read somewhere, not the Daily Fail though, that while tall people have a slightly higher chance of developing cancer, short people are more likely to develop heart disease.

grin at Ledkr

RedHotPokers Thu 21-Jul-11 15:07:03

My favourite bit of the article is the classic: 'taller people are made of more stuff'.

Chestnutx3 Thu 21-Jul-11 15:08:52

God its about the only good thing about being so short - we are less likely to do well in our careers but at least we will outlive the tall CEOs, great

munstersmum Thu 21-Jul-11 15:09:19

It is a statistic and we all know how open to interpretation they can be. It's not plucked from just anywhere though, it's come from the Million Women Study & that has some reputation:
http://www.millionwomenstudy.org/introduction/

georgie22 Thu 21-Jul-11 15:10:55

I heard this too and thought thanks for that piece of news to greet me first thing in the morning. Myself and dh are both taller than average with our dd already on the 98th centile for length but there's not a fat lot we can do about that is there? Agree with TeaspoonThief though...

Longtalljosie Thu 21-Jul-11 15:12:47

Well, actually, that's probably a direct quote. More cells = a greater chance one of them will become cancerous.

As you can imagine by my username, I'm not too chuffed by the story either.

But it really makes my teeth itch the way people on Mumsnet start blaming journalists for stories they don't like. Fair enough if you've got an issue with the way the study is reported, but as you can see that is what the Lancet study showed. It's the equivalent of blaming the weatherman for the weather - ridiculous.

thefirstMrsDeVere Thu 21-Jul-11 15:18:50

I look at statistics like this

Children are very unlikely to get cancer, childhood cancer is rare.

DD got cancer.

The cure rate for acute lymphoblastic lukaemia is 85%

DD is dead.

Statistics mean big bollock all.

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