According to its website, the American Cancer Society has been leading the way to transform cancer from deadly to preventable for 100 years.
The ACS promotes maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly, eating healthfully (few processed foods, moderate amounts of red meat), quitting smoking, limiting alcohol and conducting cancer screenings.
After watching my own father die from prostate cancer at age 59, I’m all for preventing cancer from ever materializing, let alone metastasizing.
My dad adhered to most of the ACS recommendations.
Every morning he got up and did his exercises. For years he walked 15 minutes to and from the bus stop to work. And he was very active in other ways too: he played handball, tennis and many other outdoor sports.
He was never overweight, drank alcohol moderately, never smoked, loved fresh fruit and exercised daily.
Where he fell short was in the processed food department. My dad liked his chips, desserts, dairy products and red meat, among others.
He ate processed foods along with lots of fresh. But even the “fresh” fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat were not free from additives.
Some had added vitamins and minerals, while others were treated with pesticides, fertilizers or hormones. These additives undoubtedly entered and affected his body.
Then there were the environmental toxic substances he was exposed to during his lifetime: DDT sprayed through the streets to eradicate mosquitoes, building materials such as lead, asbestos and treated lumber and other now-known carcinogens.
The water he drank and washed in, the air he breathed; these basic life-giving necessities were routinely poisoned and polluted by chemicals that proved deadlier than whatever curative powers scientists and pharmaceutical companies developed them for.
My dad was a scientist at heart and a believer in the AMA and western medicine. After he was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer, he went ahead with the proscribed treatments: surgery, radiation, chemo.
The blessedly short story is he died of cancer two years after being diagnosed. The torturous long story is he suffered pain and discomfort much of that time, as did his family and friends.
The question remains — how and why did my dad develop cancer?
It’s the age-old dilemma of the chicken or egg: which came first?
It’s one of those truly unanswerable questions. It falls in the domain of a circular argument, a vicious cycle, a catch-22 or paradox.
Perhaps Buddhists and others who believe that time is cyclical, a wheel that turns round and round in an eternal cycle without beginning or end, are right. One thing affects another, which also affects another.
We’ve seen what horrors drugs can wreak on unsuspecting and trusting consumers. Think of mothers who took thalidomide in the ’50s and ’60s to relieve nausea during pregnancy: many of them birthed deformed and impaired babies.
Vaccinations are another class of drugs that can have adverse and even deadly effects on babies, children, teens and adults. Just Google vaccination side effects and see for yourself.
The drugs we ingest, the food we eat, the beverages we drink, the air we breathe, the materials our homes are made of: any and all of these may actually be causing cancer.
It’s hard to know for sure exactly what causes disease. Having loved ones, being stress-free and enjoying life certainly helps to avoid illness and disease.
What’s also beneficial is asking questions to inform and protect yourself and your family — not taking the word of corporate giants that have profit as their bottom line.
After all, it’s the pharmaceutical companies making the drugs we take that tell us they are safe.
Kind of like the fox guarding the chicken coop.
It’s Monsanto telling us GMOs are safe and have no negative health or environmental effects. It’s the dairy industry petitioning to add aspartame (an artificial sweetener with a history of harmful side effects) to milk (!) without labeling it.
Dig a little deeper than the large print on the package. Ever notice how drugs have a list of possible side effects as long as your arm? And that death is always one of them?
The literature is out there showing the links between drugs, chemicals, genetic modifications and the harm they cause to our environment and health.
Don’t be a guinea pig. Read the small print, question big businesses — especially the ones that have government protection, like drug companies indemnified against liability.
Cats may have nine lives to live, but humans still have only one.