The Panel of 21 experts, chaired by Sir Michael Marmot of University College, London which published its review of the link between cancer and obesity yesterday was truly startling. I can tell you from personal experience that cancer is no joke. I'd have done a lot to avoid going through the surgery that it meant for me. But I wonder if I could live the life this Panel tells me would reduce the chance of a recurrence by a third. I must become leaner (probably about 2 stone lighter), take more exercise, eat more wholefoods, consume less red meat, eat no processed meat and virtually cut out alcohol.
Sir Michael said that the evidence on the link between colorectal cancer and red meat was now "convincing". And on processed meat even stronger. Now, despite my usual attitude to these sort of scare stories, which is to be sceptical, this specific link to colorectal cancer inevitably makes me sit up and take notice. I have eaten two apples, a banana and an orange today - and over the last few weeks, I have regressed to eating fish whenever we're out. And a lingering back problem has just about cleared upenought o start exercising again this weekend.
But what about the alcohol? I'm not a heavy drinker, but I suppose I drink around two bottles of white wine per week - which is above the recommendations of the Panel. I really enjoy going out for supper and downing a couple of glasses. It would greatly reduce my enjoyment of life if I were to stop. A move in the right direction would lesson the odds. And that's what the Panel's message should be. If you can't do it all, do what you can.