Tuesday, October 26, 2010

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH -- MORE HARM THAN GOOD?


I have to admit that walking for breast cancer has never impressed me as a way to help anyone except maybe the people who are getting the exercise. It had not occurred to me, however, that Breast Cancer Awareness Month might actually be Harmful to the women it's supposed to help. Then I ran across this article:

(NaturalNews) For over 25 years, the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) organization has been conducting campaigns to "promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services." But since such campaigns began, breast cancer mortality rates have remained virtually the same, while more women than ever needlessly undergo dangerous treatments for a disease they do not even have.

Groups like the American Cancer Society (ACS), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation all support breast cancer awareness initiatives, which include urging women to get annual mammograms and to undergo conventional treatments like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy at the first signs of a tumor. But many professors, scientists and healthprofessionals now say that such programs and recommendations have not only failed to achieve positive results, but have actually put more women in harm's way. (Read rest of article.)

My mother died of breast cancer at the age of 60. I think her cancer might have been a result of her poor eating habits. Her type 2 diabetes certainly was. After the diabetes diagnosis, she still wasn't able to stop her unhealthy eating habits even though when she stuck to the diabetes diet she lost weight and felt better. She never could control her cravings for sweets. Even though she walked every day, it wasn't enough to burn off the extra calories she consumed. I feel so sad about that. I wish she'd been able to conquer her addiction. I wish she'd done it when I was young and could've set that example for me and my siblings.

I look at the sizes of the people around me and read the statistics about overweight adults and know that my mother was not unique. I wonder whether a movement as well organized and publicized as Cancer Awareness Month, that stressed the importance of fruits and vegetables and had a huge awareness walk, would have an impact. But who would organize it so it wouldn't become commercialized and corrupted by the food industry who has done so much to create the problem?

Aside: I just used the Breast Cancer Assessment Tool to determine my chance of developing breast cancer. Even though my mother died of breast cancer, my chance is 2.3% in the next 5 years. That's not enough to get me to subject myself to a mammogram. Thanks, Dr. Northrup for directing me to that site! I believed my chances were much higher.

If you're planning your next mammogram you might be interested in reading Dr. Northrup's article about an alternative, less invasive, and more accurate type of screening.

2 comments:

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  2. Excellent post, Cyn, regarding the potential harm of Breast Cancer Awareness weeks, months, millenia. A sentiment not too many people, I sense, share. For years now, the whole Breast Cancer Awareness and color everything pink for October and beyond has not sat properly for me. I totally agree that what is needed is a Fruit & Veggie Awareness Season or a Health Awareness Week or something of that nature. Cause it is my firm sense and belief that the universe is more than willing to give you what you focus on (recall the Buddha: "The mind is everything. What you think you become.”) For my money, I'm going to think about health and veggies and apples and such (when I'm not practicing no-mind! :-) At the check-out counter at my local/friendly grocery store (where London works), I've been asked each trip this month "Want to donate to breast cancer awareness"?? I'm like, "Uh, no... don't think I want a lot of breast cancer in my awareness. Got anything healthy to donate to???" Anyway, as you point to, Christiane Northrup's good- a woman's health visionary a bit before the time that it was fashionable to be a health visionary. And, fwiw, you won't see me in line for that recommended mammogram either (hmmm...don't they tell us that radiation causes cancer???) Some of this stuff is nuts, to my thinking. And I just noticed you *drew* those veggie breast women pictures! Bravo!

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