Chances are you do. Maybe you even know more than one person and maybe you have someone very close to you that has cancer. Cancer is a big bad word. When we hear the word Cancer it can elicit many strong emotions in us – fear, anger, sadness, helplessness, or even strength.
I have two friends battling very aggressive cancers right now. I know that I have felt many of those feelings and they likely have too. However, the biggest feeling they radiate is strength. They are SO strong. Both of them have an amazing attitude and are facing their cancers with great strength. I am proud of them.
The cancer statistics are overwhelming. In our lifetime, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer. One American will die from cancer every minute this year.
No one should get cancer. Only 5-10% of all cancers are hereditary. So why are so many people getting cancer? A broadcast on KPFA radio discussed the difference between the view of cancer taken by the American medical society and that taken in much of the rest of the world. In the U.S., the story asserted, we tend to see cancer – with the possible exception of lung cancer – as just being the result of bad luck. We don’t tend to look more deeply into the causes of it. And we’re afraid to admit just how toxic many of the chemicals we’re exposed to in daily life really are.
According to the President’s Cancer Panel, “With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the U.S., many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un-or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.”
Toxic chemicals and contaminants are widespread in our personal care products, our cleaning supplies, and more. No wonder American babies are born pre-polluted with nearly 300 chemicals found in umbilical cord blood. Chemicals like BPA, flame retardants, lead, and PCBs that are linked to not only cancer, but autism, obesity, ADHD, diabetes, infertility and heart disease. Read more.
What We Can Do About Cancer
Some people feel there is nothing to be done about environmental contaminants and they want to wish the problem away or ignore it. In a poll I conducted from three mom sites regarding a study showing environmental contaminants in pregnant women in the U.S., nearly 60% indicated they were unconcerned with the results of the study. Some felt that we should “hope” we don’t get affected and others thought we should just “not worry about it”
We can raise money for cancer treatment, but we can also look at cancer prevention. One step that I have taken is joining the Swim Across America (SAA) community to help raise money for cancer research. I am challenging myself by swimming a 5K in the SAA Pool Program and raising as much money to fight cancer as I can.
We do have some power in addressing the cancer threat. Research shows that some environmental toxins can lead to cancer, but rather than becoming immobilized by fear, we should realize that we have some control in determining our likelihood of contracting cancer. What we can do for ourselves is make healthy decisions for our own lives and what we can do for everyone is vote with our dollars. We do have some power in making that big bad cancer go away!