Written by John Butler
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Topics: cancer, panic

Friday, 24 March 2006

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Hypochondriacs everywhere in state of panic

A major study has found fresh evidence linking hypochondria to cancer, scientists say.

The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) assessed the incidences of cancer of over 500,000 people across Europe over 10 years and found that those who worried most about getting cancer ended up, in many cases, actually getting cancer.

EPIC's study is reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Hypochondriacs around the world have reacted with both irrational panic and sombre resignation to the study's findings, with many now saying, "I'm a goner now for sure".


"People have suspected for some time that irregularly high levels of hypochondria may increase the liklihood of cancer",


British playwright and extreme hypochondriac of some 16 years, Harry Kiddlesbury, said, "I can't believe this news... it's an absolute disaster. If I didn't already know that small, barely visible spot on my back was malignant, I definitely know it is now. Oh well better visit the Doctor tomorrow to get it over and done with. I had a decent innings I guess (massive sigh).... it's so sad to think that I will never get the chance to write my magnum opus."

Lead researcher Professor Sheila Bingham, of the MRC Cancer Unit in Cambridge, said: "People have suspected for some time that irregularly high levels of hypochondria may increase the liklihood of cancer, but this is one of the largest studies worldwide and the first from Europe of this type to show such a strong, conclusive relationship between the two".

The study also found that hypochondriacs, in general, are no less likely to develop one form of cancer over any other form of cancer. In essence, "the dreaded malignancy" can strike the fearful hypochondriac anywhere.

Bingham pointed out however that "it would seem the more a person worries about their well-being, the greater the severity of the cancer they are likely to suffer. So if for example a person spends just 40% of their time needlessly fretting over their health, they may only develop a treatable form of prostate cancer"


"hypochondriacs can ill-afford to take any chances with cancer even if their fears regarding their overall health generally tend to be unfounded"


Bingham continued "hypochondriacs, however, who spend in excess of say 80% of their time fretting needlessly over their health are more likely to be on the receiving end of a nastier, more terminal form of cancer - cancer of the stomach, pancreas or brain for example".

Bingham added, "All we can advise hypochondriacs out there to do is to stop being so terrified about their health but also to be watchful. If they do find something, anything that seems just a little iffy - a stubborn pimple, mild but persistent sickness, whatever - then I would advise them to get down to their local physician immediately. In light of these findings, hypochondriacs can ill-afford to take any chances with cancer even if their fears regarding their overall health generally tend to be unfounded".

Several hypochondriacs have criticised the study's publication arguing it will only exacerbate their already off-the-metre irrationality readings. French hypochondriac, Jacques Pastille said, "Did we really need to know this? Seriously, was this really necessary? Jesus Christ, I won't sleep tonight... and I heard lack of sleep can cause cancer too. Jesus Christ - I'll be dead by next week... actually come to think of it, I once heard a priest say blasphemy causes cancer too... Jesus Christ I am well fucked".


"Recent studies have shown a possible link may also exist between hypochondria and heart disease".


Since the report was published 3 days ago, physicians have reported an abnormally high incidence of hypochondriacs visiting their surgeries to have what they describe as the "flimsiest of cancer fears" checked out.

"It's great. I've never been so busy. Let the good times roll", Dr, Geoff Drake, Manchester, said.

Dr. Drake added, "I had a guy the other day come in and ask if a mark on his left arm might be melanoma. Turned out to be a freckle.... it was hilarious... he was literally shitting himself... well not literally but still... (shaking head) very funny. Paid me fifty big ones too".

Recent studies have shown a possible link may also exist between hypochondria and heart disease. This resulted in many thousands of hypochondriacs across the world engaging in inordinate levels of physical exercise and embarking on ridiculous diets containing zero cholesterol.

Several Hypochondria therapy groups have been established (including Hypochondriacs Anonymous) to help sufferers overcome their irrational fears over their mortality, but also to help them come to terms with the fact that these same mortal fears are probably going to be realised sooner rather than later.

Hypochondriacs have been advised to cut down on such irrational fears not directly related to cancer such as arthritis, osteoporosis and other disorders of a more physical nature.

Professor Tim Key, of the charity Cancer Research UK, said: "This study shows hypochondriacs, at this stage at least, should only really be worrying about lumps and tumours and such. Any illogical concerns they may have over contracting arthritis - mild back pain, etc. - is, in fact, more likely to result in cancer than actual arthritis. In fact, if I were a hypochondriac I'd be very worried right now".

Several pharmaceutical companies now offer products that they claim lessens feelings of hypochondria in the sufferer. Pfizer say their new drug, Tetrahypochondrilin, could result in a 75% decrease in hypochondria.

They added however that the user will have to continue consuming the drug for the rest of their lives in order to sustain their new found devil-may-care attitude towards their physical well-being.

Pfizer spokeperson, Grant Stanley said, "There's a good chance that those who use Tetrahypochondrilin will never wish to visit their GP ever again... it's that good. This would be unwise however. Although this is a miracle drug, we advise that it is used sensibly and that the recovering hypochondriac should continue to take certain precautions over their health and therefore continue to take other forms of Pfizer medication even if they feel they don't need to".

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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