In our constant go-go-go world today, we’ve become virtual experts at tuning out the stuff we don’t want to hear. Whether it’s uncomfortable convos on the subway behind you, the same-old, same-old advertisements on the TV as you’re folding laundry, or the loud “WAHHHH!” of your child in his carseat after you told him you’re not going to get ice cream– OK, maybe that last one isn’t so easy to tune out.
Still, most of us can’t deny that tuning out the “unnecessary stuff” surrounding us every day is synonymous with being optimally efficient. But there’s a little caveat about that whole often-necessary process: it may have transcended into our health stratosphere, too.
That’s because more and more of us are ignoring messages from our own bodies, shrugging and moving onto the next task, even when potential cancer symptoms are screaming at us from a body part away, claims research recently published in the journal PLOS One.
Researchers questioned 1,700 people and realized that a whopping 53 percent of them had encountered at least one symptom that could be a warning sign for cancer during the preceding three months. Now here’s where things get real worrisome: only a paltry two percent(!) “didn’t dismiss cancer as a possibility.”
That means nearly all of 1,700 people may have had clear signs of cancer– and not only didn’t blink an eye at the fact, but continued doing what they were doing as so many of us often do.
“Even the more obvious warning symptoms, such as unexplained lumps or changes to the appearance of a mole, were rarely attributed to cancer” during the study, warned Dr. Katriina Whitaker, the lead study author whose further qualifications include senior research fellow at University College London. That, she says, is extremely troubling for the state of both individual and public health.
Aside from the fact that this calls into question our nation’s current values– the need to stay busy at the cost of death itself– it also sheds light on the priorities of so many Americans who are more focused on keeping up with their rushed schedule than taking any of their accumulated-for-too-long-already vacation days.
Besides, continues Dr. Whitaker, even if cancer isn’t the reason for such symptoms, responding to them when you first notice them could help you catch other potentially-serious diseases before they get too detrimental to your health.
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