«What's the point of all this worrying about health? We all must die. The world is full of bad chemicals and other poisons. Everything causes cancer. You may do what you want, you'll get it anyway. And so much is told about cancer. Advice here, advice there. You find experts who tell you this or that, and others who tell you quite the opposite.» - (Picture by Starbuck Powersurge @ Flickr)
If you agree to all these statements in the fatalistic belief that you'll get cancer anyway, you may be more likely to get it than if you disagree with the exception that we all must die. This is the outcome of a telephone survey in more than six thousand Americans.
Of course, without contacting the same people ten or twenty years later and checking their health, it is impossible to assess the cancer risk directly. All the same, the researchers have found an indirect way. In addition to cancer beliefs they asked people about their health behaviour. It came out that roughly half of all Americans hold fatalistic beliefs about cancer and that these persons are more likely to smoke, not to exercise and not to eat fruit and vegetables. And from a great number of other studies we know that such a behaviour increases the risk of cancer and of other diseases.
Take home message
You can do much good for your health. Do it.