cause (see Rational Thinking in chapter 14). For example, wine
drinkers have better diets, exercise more, smoke less, and eat more
veggies than non-drinkers. Moreover, wine drinkers smoke less, eat
more fiber, less fat and cholesterol than drinkers of other kinds of
alcohol. So, maybe good advice is far more complex than "drink red
wine for a healthy heart." The body and all life is complex. We need
good science to understand the complexities.
Have you heard of the hoax that circulated through the Internet
called "cough self-CPR"--coughing repeatedly and vigorously--if you
think you are starting to have a heart attack when alone? Well,
vigorous coughing every two seconds self-treatment is useless or
dangerous advice. AHA says if you are in this tense situation (a)
attend to the warning signs (chest or upper body discomfort, shortness
of breath, and possibly a cold sweat, nausea...), (b) call 911
immediately, (c) have someone begin CPR (if needed), and, hopefully,
(d) have an Automated External Defibrillator nearby.
Cancer is a serious, scary, not clearly understood disorder where
cells grow out of control. Half a million Americans die from cancer each
year. One out of every three Americans will have some form of cancer
sometime during their life. Lung cancer is the most common cancer
and often related to smoking. The risk of malignant melanoma is
increased by sun burns. But not much is known about the causes of
other common cancers, such as breast, prostate, and colorectal.
Cancer strikes many parts of the body. The type of cancer is
determined by the organ it started in, the type of cell in that organ it
started in, and the general appearance of the cancerous cells. So,
different kinds of cancer can start in the same organ, such as your
kidney, and each would need a different kind of treatment. Thus far,
family history--the genes?--appears to play a moderate role in causing
certain cancers but our knowledge about the causes of cancer is
limited. We know about 10% of all American women will eventually
have breast cancer, the risk increases with age.
Should you study your own type of cancer? The medical literature
can be confusing and disturbing reading. If you are thinking about
researching your own cancer, read the pros and cons of doing so on
the CancerGuide (http://www.cancerguide.org/) by Steve Dunn. The
medical aspects of cancer are very complex and technical, plus the
terminology is difficult for a layman to understand. But, if you have a
rare cancer, you might be able to help your physician find helpful
information or experts to consult with. Note: Always consult carefully
with your physician, don't try to treat cancer on your own. There is a
lot of garbage out there. The psychological aspects of coping with
cancer are also complex and may also be difficult to understand.
However, a few points need to be made.
As we discussed above, stress and certain emotions can contribute
to the development of certain physical problems, like heart problems,