Archive | July 2015

Retrospection

All breast cancer survivors have one thing in common, and that is the ever evading mystery of what caused our breast cancer in the first place. Anger follows very close on the heals of shock and fear, but not long after that comes retrospection. This often hits you when you are incapacitated by your cancer surgeries or treatments, leaving you no choice but to slow down. If you were anything like I was when I had chemotherapy for the first time, you were most probably sleeping for the good part of two or three days after your sessions, giving you plenty of time to contemplate things and hold your own private little pity party.

Twelve years later and having written my own book on breast cancer to try and help as many people out there as possible, I have come to what I’m pretty sure is a universal conclusion. Unless breast cancer is hereditary and runs in our families and we have tested positive for the BRCA 1&2 gene, there is simply no way of knowing for sure. Only 10% of all breast cancers diagnosed are indeed due to genetic factors. All the rest are due to environmental influences. This is a very unsettling notion indeed, because although we do have a certain amount of control over what we intentionally expose ourselves to, the sobering fact is that a lot of what we unwittingly come into contact with, we can do nothing about. These things include the air we breathe, the water we drink and bathe in and everything else that we’re exposed to when we are out in public including the workplace.

Fortunately there are some things we do have control over and that is our own personal home environments as well as what we put into and onto our bodies. Doing research for my book, I was shocked as to how much blatant disregard there is in the manufacturing, cultivation, and animal farming businesses for human health and safety. It is rife in the cattle farming industry to inject their cows with hormones so that they produce more milk for longer. These hormones also encourage the animals to eat more and therefore produce more meat to increase sales and overall profits. These practices in the meat industry also has some far reaching ramifications, because these hormones get into many other products that come from the same animals like milk, cheese, margarine, yoghurt, cream and butter to name just a few. These hormones have been proven by scientists to have carcinogenic effects on humans, thereby causing various cancers, breast cancer being one of them.

Then there are also the herbicides and pesticides that are sprayed liberally over crops and food that we have to consume. Granted I do understand that farmers have to deal with the plight of insects and other pests that can ruin their crops and eat away at their profits and livelihoods, but the controversial question is this…should they be doing this just so that they can make a buck whilst putting everybody else’s health at risk? I think not! I could go on about this till next week, but the fact still remains that we as the consumers can do very little about what has become purely a money making business, regardless of the consequences.

Luckily there are people out there who do still have their ethics intact and who do care about the health and welfare of others, and these are the organic farmers. I see an exciting trend happening in supermarkets, with more and more organic products emerging on the shelves at more reasonable retail prices. What has always put me off going totally organic is the prices. If you go to an exclusively organic shop, you’re going to pay twice if not three times the price of normal produce, but buying from your normal supermarket chain can bring the prices of organic products down somewhat,making them just a little more affordable.

This entry was posted on July 6, 2015.