Australians are sicker now than at any time in our history and it is getting worse unbelievably quickly. We are almost four times as likely to have thyroid cancer than just three short decades ago. We are more than three times as likely to have Liver Cancer or Type II Diabetes. We are twice as likely to have Anal cancer, Chronic Kidney Disease, Melanoma, Kidney cancer and Motor Neuron Disease. And Fatty Liver Disease, something that barely existed in the eighties, now affects 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 8 children.
Men are more than twice as likely to have prostate cancer and 60% more likely to have testicular cancer. Women are 43% more likely to have breast cancer. And children are more than four times(!) as likely to suffer from a life threatening allergic reaction.
These are not comparisons to the 50s or the turn of the 20th century. These statistics are comparisons with 1982 (and in the case of allergies, with 1994). The chronic disease tsunami is upon us. If we are not already affected by one of these diseases (or the many others steadily getting worse), we most certainly know someone who is.
So, when something happens that reminds us of this, we pay attention. The Ice-Bucket Challenge for Motor Neuron Disease and the Beanie for Brain Cancer campaign strike a chord with us because, like never before in human history, we are likely to have a very personal connection with chronic disease inexplicably striking down those we love.
We are intensely interested in knowing all we can about these diseases. We don’t believe they strike randomly, no matter how many times we are told they have no known cause. Even if we don’t know the exact numbers we have a sense that we are a population in serious disease trouble. We desperately want to know if there is something we should be doing or not doing to avoid adding ourselves (and those we love) to the statistics.
The problem is, we are never told. The organisations tasked with telling us about these diseases tell us nothing is known about their cause. They offer us no hope. They ask us for money for research and they leave us to live with our fingers crossed.
But we do know some important things about these diseases. We know that sugar consumption causes Type II Diabetes Fatty Liver Disease and Chronic Kidney disease and is likely to be part of the disease process for Liver, Kidney and Pancreatic cancer. We know that the fats contained in vegetable oils (like Canola, Sunflower, Soybean, Cottonseed, Grapeseed, Rice Bran and Safflower oil) are a significant part of the disease process for Motor Neuron Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Macular Degeneration, Multiple Sclerosis (and other auto-immune diseases) all cancers and lethal allergic reactions.
Deleting sugar from your diet will not bring a destroyed pancreas, liver or kidney back. Deleting vegetable oil will not reverse Parkinson’s, Motor Neuron Disease or cancer. But removing those modern additions to our diet will take you off the high risk path for all of those diseases and more.
This is the message we should be given the next time our national attention is focused on a beanie, a ribbon or a bucket of ice-water. We should be told what we can do to avoid the disease. Those asking us for money should be doing their level best to ensure they never need it.