**This post has been entered in Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist!**
Recently there’s been a bit of an uproar over some “breast cancer awareness” games on Facebook. Women have been sent messages about sharing their bra color and most recently, fake pregnancy and cravings. I can understand how bra color might be related to breast cancer – at least it’s about breasts! (Although how is anyone supposed to know that this has anything to do with breast cancer, since it doesn’t say so?) But fake pregnancy? As many pointed out, it’s not only ridiculous, it’s also insensitive to those who have fought breast cancer and those suffering from infertility.
The games are out of control. Fake statuses that actually have nothing to do with breast cancer at all just confuse people, they don’t bring any awareness to breast cancer. They also don’t actually do anything to support people struggling with breast cancer, or…well, do anything at all. They’re childish little games. And no, I don’t participate in any of these (I got sent “the email” the first couple times, but people stopped sending them when they realized I wasn’t going to do it).
My question, though, is: why are we worrying about breast cancer awareness in the first place? We are all painfully aware that far too many women suffer from breast cancer at some point. It’s not exactly a secret. Why don’t we actually start talking about prevention?
Preventing breast cancer – not being aware of it, and not curing it – is the real issue! We’ll never “cure” breast cancer anyway by looking for a drug or procedure to make it go away once it’s there. The only way to actually battle and beat breast cancer is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Cancer, like any illness, has an underlying cause. It can only be “cured” or prevented by removing whatever that underlying cause is. Most cancer is caused by lifestyle choices, either deliberate or unknowing (most people are doing the best they can with what they know) or environmental factors. Currently, 50% of people can expect to get some form of cancer in their life time, which is a huge increase over the last 20 years. It’s not genetic. It’s not “just one of those things.” There are a lot of factors that influence whether or not cancer develops.
When we understand the factors that influence cancer, we can actually work to prevent cancer or “cure” it. That is the message we need to be spreading. And although some would argue differently, I believe this message is one of hope:
“You’re not stuck with ‘the luck of the draw.’ There is something you can do. You don’t have to live with cancer or the knowledge that you’re predisposed to it and may develop it.”
We can take control of our health instead of feeling that we need to rely on fate, doctors, and drugs. Learning about health and the ways to improve our health is a lot more proactive and important than any walk (which only raises money for more doctors and drugs) and certainly more than any silly internet game.
Let’s combat cancer with facts.
- Sugar and refined flours fuel cancer cells and cause them grow more rapidly.
- Vegetable oils are usually rancid by the time they reach the stores, which means they contain unlabeled trans fats. These, too, can contribute to cancer.
- Healthy, saturated fats like butter, coconut oil, lard (from pastured pigs), etc. help our bodies to absorb and use crucial fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. These vitamins can help to combat and prevent cancer.
- Plants (fruits and vegetables) contain many nutrients and phyto-chemicals that prevent cancer.
- Breastfeeding reduces both mom and baby’s cancer risk, and the longer you do it, the less likely cancer is. Conversely, formula feeding increases cancer risk.
- Smoking increases cancer risk.
- Being overweight increases cancer risk. (Which is more likely in people who eat high-carb, high-sugar, vegetable-oil-filled diets. Higher fat and protein diets with fewer carbs are associated with decreased cancer risk, as well as low rates of obesity.)
- Aluminum in antiperspirants is linked to cancer.
- Use of artificial sweeteners is linked to cancer.
- Preservatives, pesticides, and other chemicals found in food are linked to cancer.
If we can do the best we can to prevent cancer in the first place, we won’t need all these walks and rallies and games to try to “fight” breast cancer. I don’t generally support all these foundations anyway, because they only research more mainstream drugs and procedures to “fight” cancer that already exists, but are really just poison. Killing cancer with poison isn’t (usually) necessary because it destroys your body as well. It is much safer and smarter to make good choices about diet and lifestyle to be as healthy as possible. And yes, it absolutely makes a difference.
Are you tired of these silly games or calls for “awareness?” How can we work towards prevention together?
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