[For years, I have been living my life between Long Island and Geneva, Switzerland, which also has a very high rate of breast cancer. I was treated for breast cancer in 2004. The latest statistics from Switzerland are alarming: one in 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer is under age 40. The prognosis is less favorable for young women.]
“NO FAMILY HISTORY” by Sabrina McCormick (2009) (www.nofamilyhistory.org).
The author discusses the environmental links to breast cancer, focusing on Long Island in New York State, which has the second highest breast cancer rate in the United States after Marin County in California. She says we must rethink advocacy which is currently concerned with detection, treatment, research and support groups. Associations advocate better treatment options for women and raise more awareness about the disease. In fact, these actions generate more profits for the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries instead of focusing on prevention.
For instance, AstraZeneca, a producer of drugs for chemo and hormonal therapies, created the National Cancer Awareness Month. As is often the case with these corporations, there is a conflict of interest, since on the one hand, they are helping to raise money for research through organizing “pink” events to generate awareness of breast cancer, while on the other, polluting the environment with very toxic chemicals which cause cancer. AstraZeneca, formerly the Imperial Chemical Industries, used to manufacture personal care products and food ingredients which have been found to be harmful to health.
Rising cancer occurrence is almost always explained by aging of the population, early detection, genetic disposition and lifestyle. The principle cause, however, is exposure to pollutants in the environment. The link between cancer and the environment is difficult to prove. Suspected pollutants in the case of Long Island include the pesticides sprayed on lawns and golf courses which enter the drinking water supply, plastics, electromagnetic exposures, cosmetics. The author makes a strong plea for focusing on prevention by identifying which substances are linked to breast cancer and then advocating for limiting their use or banning these substances in products and in the environment.
by Meris Michaels
by Meris Michaels