Performance Perspectives Blog

A different kind of attribution

by | Nov 25, 2012

When I teach our Performance Fundamentals and Attribution classes, I often say how we frequently borrow concepts from other places: attribution is just one example. We didn’t come up with the idea of attributing an event to a cause, or determining how various causes contributed to an outcome. 

Today’s post deals with an attribution that has nothing to do with performance. It is also a bit of a delicate subject, so I hope it’s okay.

The subject: prostate cancer.

I just turned 62. As I understand it, by my age roughly 60% of men have had prostate cancer. I had a physical recently, and I was told that the condition of my prostate is somewhat “unique.” That is, it’s in very good shape.

Unlike those men you see in some commercials, I don’t find myself having to rush to the bathroom multiple times a day or throughout the night. I recall playing a round of golf with three much younger men. We all had plenty of fluids to drink during the first part of our round. When we got to a hole with a bathroom, the three young guys rushed to the bathroom while I stayed in the cart.

And so, what to attribute to my apparently quite healthy prostate? I’ve identified three possible causes.

#1 My morning smoothie drink. For more than 10 years (probably close to 15) I’ve prepared a smoothie when I’m at home, that consists of the following ingredients:

  • One serving of soy powder. I read something many years ago that suggested that the use of soy might help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. And so, I’ve been a devotee. I use Solgar Iso-Soy Soy Protein/Isoflavone Concentrated Powder Natural Vanilla Bean Flavor which you can get from Amazon
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon. I had read that cinnamon is good for you, so I include a bit in my drink.
  • 1 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). I understand that we are to consume at least some olive oil daily, and so by including it in my morning drink, I’m guaranteed having it.
  • 1 cup blueberries. I use Wyman’s frozen wild blueberries. They’re high in antioxidants. You can get them at BJs and Costco.
  • 3-4 frozen strawberries. Also high in antioxidants. Also taste good!
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1 cup skim milk (a way to get calcium)
  • 1 banana (for potassium).

When I’m home, I start each day with this drink. It makes about 32 ounces, which I consume at one time. You could split it between two days, of course. It is, I think, fairly high in calories, so you might want to consider this. I happen to think they’re very healthy calories.

#2 High consumption of fluids. Empirical evidence shows that I consume a much higher amount of fluids than most people. During the day I drink a lot of coffee (decaf; in the AM), water, and diet soda. Could this have anything to do with my healthy prostate? I have no idea, but looking for things that are obviously different suggests that it’s a candidate.

#3 Heredity. It’s possible that I have “good genes,” though I don’t have any easy way of finding out. My father died at 69 from pneumonia (he was a “recovered” alcoholic and heavy smoker; I don’t know if he had prostate issues). His father was older when he died, but I have no evidence to suggest that he had a good or bad prostate. Details of my maternal grandfather’s demise are unknown to me; I never met him, and his is an interesting story that I’ll save for some other time.

There is, of course, a fourth possibility: unknown cause. I have faith in my daily drink, and believe that what I include is all healthy stuff, some of which reportedly combats cancer. While I’ve never heard anything about fluid consumption being good or bad for cancer prevention, knowing that my intake is higher than most suggests that it’s at least a possibility.

When men turn 40 they begin to get tested for prostate cancer, and this continues for the rest of their lives. I now get annual physicals. Fortunately, my prostate is healthy. My only reason for sharing this today is because I am fully aware of the potential effects of a bad prostate. I have friends my age who often have to stop to rush to the bathroom. I don’t. I sent my formula to one prostate cancer research facility, who didn’t seem to be impressed, which is fine. And perhaps you won’t be, either. But prevention is a good thing. And while I cannot guarantee that this drink is a good thing, it’s a daily routine for me whenever I am home. My mother died of cancer when I was very young. I’ve had other relatives and friends who’ve died of cancer. And so, prevention and awareness is very important to me. Thus, this post. I hope it’s well received.

A disclaimer: I am, of course, not a medical authority or practitioner. I am simply sharing something that I do. I cannot offer any guarantees whatsoever, or offer any further guidance. I have faith in it, thus my daily devotion and interest in sharing it with my readers.

Free Subscription!

The Journal of Performance Measurement

The Performance Measurement Resource.

Click to Subscribe