It’s October, girls, so gird your loins! We’re about to get pinked! You’ll see the color everywhere from tee shirts to ribbons, kitchen appliances to running shoes, all designed to raise money for breast cancer research.
I am so confused and “over it”, to be honest. After all the suffering, loss and disfiguring of millions of women, I would hope that we would be further along. But we still offer treatments that have debilitating side effects and increase our risk of other diseases like metabolic syndrome.
As far back as 2011, MarieClaire magazine published an article called “The Big Business of Breast Cancer” that discussed the ways we are being scammed by companies and organizations tugging on our heart strings and promising an end to breast cancer all while fleecing us of money. (http://www.marieclaire.com/politics/news/a6506/breast-cancer-business-scams/ )
From unhealthy foods to toxic perfumes, we get sold a bill of goods (again…) each October as we open our wallets to buy something pink in solidarity with the brave women and their families who are battling for their lives.
Except that all this money raised has little to do with them and their struggle.
With more than 1.6 million new cases of cancer expected to be diagnosed in 2016, with more than half succumbing to the disease, we have to ask what’s going on with all of this research. The US could spend more than $156 billion by 2020 at the current rate of disease and treatment.
According to www.cancer.gov :
In the United States, the overall cancer death rate has declined since the early 1990s. The most recent Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, published in March 2016, shows that from 2003 to 2012, cancer death rates decreased by:
1.8 percent per year among men
1.4 percent per year among women
2.0 percent per year among children ages 0-19
Although death rates for many individual cancer types have also declined, rates for a few cancers have stabilized or even increased.
It’s laughable, but tragic.
I don’t know about you, but a decline of less than 2% since the 1990’s doesn’t feel like a lot of progress to me in light of the billions of dollars raised to do research for a cure for this modern worldwide plague.
Sure, some people are beating cancer and some forms of this disease have improved survival rates. We are better at diagnosing the disease (although some experts would argue we over-diagnose particularly breast and prostate cancers, contributing to the cost of over- treatment.).
What truly worries me is that with all the races, walks, products and other fund-raisers for breast cancer, we are now discovering that experts are working more toward managing than curing the disease, creating a whole new “community” of people called “cancer thrivers,” those not cured of the disease but managing it with pharmaceuticals and living with it.
Seriously? With more than $6 billion raised for breast cancer research in 2015 alone, this is the best we can hope for?
More American women have died of breast cancer in the last 20 years than the number of Americans killed in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined.
So what to do? Is there a better solution?
First, we must protect ourselves and our loved ones as best we can, by making the best possible choices in our lives, from what we eat to what we put on our skin and hair.
Next, we must place our focus (and our research dollars) on prevention so that fewer women and men will be diagnosed, their feet set on a path of almost unthinkable suffering.
If you’re inclined to donate because that’s the best way for you to contribute, then you might want to do what I do. Donate to local organizations that help women in your community in need, who can’t afford care; who need support like child care while they take treatment; who help women pay for preventive care. You can see where your money goes and how it’s being spent. You will see it in action as the quality of life of a local women (or women) is improved and her stress eased because help has arrived.
And you can take care of yourself and the women you love by making the best and most natural choices you can. During this month, I’ll be sharing the best information I can find, delicious recipes that support reproductive health and wellness and looking to you, my gorgeous community of wellness warriors to share your best ideas for staying well…this month and throughout the year.