Posted on Feb 22, 2019, 9 p.m.
Many in the developed world feel grateful for having access to healthcare and food options that those in poorer nations may not have access to. That being said a recent study from the University of Adelaide suggests that countries considered to be “better” may actually be worse off when it comes to illnesses such as cancer.
10 countries that have the best access to healthcare : Sweden, Japan, Italy, Germany, Singapore, Iceland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Andorra, and Cyprus were discovered to have higher rates of cancer than the 10 countries that rank lowest to healthcare access which includes Somalia, Afghanistan, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone, among others.
With some cancers the differences were dramatic, with the 10 top countries having rates of testicular cancer that are 14 times higher and skin melanoma 10 times higher than that of the bottom countries; lung cancer was 12 times higher with smoking accounting for half of this form of cancer; brain cancer rates were 6.5 times higher; pancreatic cancer 5.1 times higher; leukemia and prostate cancer were 3.5 times higher; breast cancer was 2.7 times higher; and the rates for ovarian cancer were twice as high in the top 10 countries as compared to the bottom 10. Cervical cancer rates were noted to be the opposite, being 5 times higher in the 10 worst countries than in the 10 top countries which may possibly be due to poor hygiene.
Conclusion were reached after analyzing global cancer data for people up to the age of 49 from 173 countries provided by the World Health Organization, who ranked the countries in terms of medical services quality, mortality rates, fertility rates, socioeconomic status, and urbanization.
The same modern healthcare system that many find to be helpful is suggested to be behind the disturbing trend, according to Professor Maciej Henneberg, because high tech treatments enable more people to survive cancer and pass their cancer causing genes to the next generation. Many more individuals died in the past before they could pass their genes on, which can be seen in the prevalence of some cancers doubling and even quadrupled over 4-5 generations in the past 100-150 years.
In a similar manner predisposition to obesity and diabetes is also being passed down. Richer nations have access to more food which isn’t always better such as unprocessed foods and unhealthy varieties which make all of these conditions worse, and increasingly sedentary lifestyles are becoming the nail in the coffin.
Modern medicine does provide obvious benefits, but it also has the unintentional side effect of allowing genetic materials to be passed from one generation to the next that may predispose them to have poor health such as cancer adds Henneberg.
Henneberg strongly opposes eugenics believing repairing genes that are damaged by mutations is essentially stemming growing rates of cancer and diabetes, which is a complicated area with a lot of ethical problems that need to be addressed.
It is critical for people to focus on factors that are within their control when it comes to prevention and reducing their risk for cancer such as eating a proper diet, avoiding environmental toxins, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of natural vitamin D from sunshine. One may not be able to control genes, but one can make living in a “better” country work to advantage if you embrace the opportunities it affords to focus on living a healthy lifestyle, and making better choices.
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