Take a close look at the photos on the homepage of these two websites:
- The Hera Foundation: http://www.herafoundation.org/
- Good Wishes Scarves: http://www.goodwishesscarves.org/
What do you notice about those young, gorgeous women in the photos you see?
What I noticed is precisely that they are young, and gorgeous.
Off the top of my head, here’s a list of people I know of who have had cancer:
My grandmother, my father, my mother, one aunt, two uncles, two neighbors, four colleagues, two friends of my parents, the wife and the mother of our contractor, the father of one of my students, my sister-in-law’s brother-in-law, two colleagues of my sister, a friend and her father, another friend’s sister, the mother of my daughter’s friend, my physical therapist, and the father of my husband’s colleague.
Oh, and me too.
Twenty-seven people. Ten types of cancer — the predominant ones being breast, colon, and lung, an array that reflects the rank of cancer types in the United States. Some of these people have had more than one type of cancer, and some had a recurrence after many years of remission. Eleven of them have died. Of these 27, a third (including me) were under the age of 50 when they were diagnosed. From the look of those gorgeous women on the websites, cancer is increasingly common among younger adults.
A couple weeks ago, I came across a chilling statement in the People’s Pharmacy column, which is syndicated in many national newspapers. A writer commented, “When I told my doctor that I am reluctant to take Premarin for fear of cancer, she actually said that cancer is no big deal. It is just a way of life now: Get cancer, get treatment, and get over it…”.
So is this what we’ve come to? With no cures in sight for many of these cancers, and so many of us being given this diagnosis, has the experience of cancer become a rite of passage — like puberty or a midlife crisis?
With the ever-increasing numbers of people affected, the challenge is not to “get over” cancer, but find out why we aren’t working as hard to prevent it as we are to cure it. I’d like to start by eliminating the chemical stew our corporations have cooked up for us to eat, drink and breathe.