Three years ago today, a little after midnight, my mother died of pancreatic cancer.
2011 was not a good year. In May, my father succumbed to lung cancer. Toward the end of his life, just when I thought that things couldn't get any worse, my mother informed me and my brother that she had a tumor in her pancreas. Six months after she started her treatment, she was gone.
A lot of the time, when someone gets cancer, people try to make sense of it by pointing to one specific thing in that person's life as being the cause. We love to simplify it so we feel that we have more control over our own lives- if we don't do “x”, then we won't get “y”. Unfortunately, it's usually a bit more complicated than that.
The American Cancer Society estimates that, in this year alone, almost 1,600 people will die of cancer EVERY DAY, bringing it to a grand total of 585,720 people in just 2014 (1). As of 2012, the United States had the sixth highest cancer rate in the world (2). This is completely unacceptable.
In one single blog post, I can't even scratch the surface on what I feel the correct answer to all of this might be, but I can say that the path we're on is most definitely the wrong one. We focus so much on “awareness” and raising money for “the cure”, but we barely talk about prevention in realistic terms. We don't talk about all the toxins that are being put into our food, our water, our air, our cosmetics, our homes, and even our clothing. We pretend that, just because the government allows these items to be sold in stores that they're “safe”, so we don't need to understand how they might affect our bodies. This attitude couldn't be more incorrect and is honestly downright dangerous.
There's so much around us that we just can't control, but what we can control is how we, as individuals, respond. Please, start looking into where your food comes from (and what your food was fed), read the labels on the products you use and look out for ingredients that might not be so healthy, and learn how your body works, how to care for it, and what it needs. Again, we can't control everything we're exposed to (or have ever been exposed to), but we can at least try to get on the right path.
PS- I highly recommend this book to those of you who need it. It helped me greatly.
1 http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@research/documents/webcontent/acspc-042151.pdf ; page 4