Friday, December 30, 2011

Sound Advice

I read an article the other day citing a study from Nancy University in France stating that some multi-vitamin pills containing vitamin E, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, selenium and zinc increase the risk of malignant melanoma.  Ironically, during a visit to my general practitioner last month, I asked about whether or not I took too many supplements and vitamins.   For the most part, he supported my intake with only minor warnings for overuse of a couple supplements.  Overall, he didn’t completely didn’t completely debunk this study, but he seemed to think that there were far more studies supporting the individual benefits.  
It has been stated that “data” can be manipulated to benefit any side of an argument.  I’ve also heard it be said that any point of any argument can find some quote or passage from the Bible to back it up.  I have to believe the same is true of all the studies published or discussed about almost any medical issue.  The study in France was not about melanoma, but of whether or not multi-vitamins served any benefit to people at all.  In short, the study stated that there was no benefit, and in fact there were some statistical relations with increased melanoma risk as I mentioned above.  I would guess that further medical studies should be performed to validate this finding as my doctor implied.
I also read a letter in the Calgary Herald from a gentleman citing research from the UK which found no evidence for sun bed use as a risk factor for melanoma and only a small non-significant increased risk for those under 25.  Of course, this counters many other studies I’ve read from many reputable sources that state that tanning beds can be a direct contributor to melanoma.
Several melanoma survivors and warriors have issued warnings to others to not do your own research on the medical specifics of melanoma.  I have to agree with that.  For one thing, the true experts…your doctors, dermatologists and oncologists and their staffs are the ones that deal with your situation every day.  They are human and may not be perfect, but they are far more focused and informed than a large majority of internet articles and bloggers…including yours truly.
What I’m trying to say is, you can find any study which supports exactly what you don’t want to read, and yet you can find the same to help give you confidence.  The important thing is to always, ALWAYS confide in your doctors.  Ask them the questions…ask them to validate or debunk the article you’ve read.  Listen to other warriors who have been there as they share their experiences, fears and struggles…but always seek the medical advice from the professionals.
And that’s my advice for the day.

1 comment: