Sunday, October 23, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness or Prevention?

October is the National Breast Cancer Awareness month in the U.S. Everyone is bombarded with advertisements and billboards and other media - all with the purpose of raising awareness. Pink ribbons in grocery stores, on products, labels and what not. Who didn't hear the cashier ask at the register 'Would you like to donate a dollar to breast cancer research?'

Seems like such a pertinent issue. So many lives touched by this terrible disease, pretty much everybody knows someone who had been affected by it. Even though God so far spared me this terrible experience I do have friends who had it and those who lost their loved ones in this battle. My good friend Katie participated in last year's Avon Walk for Breast Cancer from Santa Barbara to Carpinteria, CA and I was glad to support her. We walked quite a few miles together as a part of her daily training. She did a LOT more walking than I did, of course, since she was the one who did the actual walk (doh!). Either way, if the question is whether this subject is important for me personally then the answer would be a definite YES.

But what exactly does 'raising awareness' mean? It sounds like such a vague notion to me. And has anyone ever asked themselves what exactly this research is and who is doing it? What about prevention vs. early detection, what is more important? Doesn't it make much more sense to educate people about ways of preventing breast cancer rather than spending money on expensive marketing campaigns simply raising awareness?

From what I have observed (turns out I am not alone) and to my deepest sadness, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has NOT become a time of increasing awareness of the preventable causes of this disease. Instead it keeps feeding the whole industry only interested in researching pharmaceutical cures (that's where the money can be made, otherwise, what's the point?) and promoting their view of prevention which is really early detection through mammography. When it comes to difference between these two - it's huge. Would you rather be 'saved' at the early stage of your disease or learn how to make sure you don't get it in the first place?

And did you know that:
  • The rate of 'false alarms' from mammogram screening is as high as 40%, resulting in high rates of unnecessary biopsies and other tests, let alone the stress of not knowing for sure.
  • Clinical evidence indicates that the 'low energy' x-rays used in breast screenings are up to 500% more carcinogenic than previously assumed.
  • The primary causes of breast cancer are nutritional deficiencies, exposure to environmental toxins, inflammation, hormone overload from food and plastics, and other 'wonders' of modern life style. Too complicated? Here's how this gets deciphered: eat healthy/organic nutritional diet (none of that GMO garbage, low fat or sugar filled junk), exercise/keep physically active, avoid as much chemical stuff from your cosmetics and household supplies and you'll cut your risk of getting breast cancer by like 80% Oh, and make sure you get plenty of sunshine or find other ways to get your vitamin D levels in order.
Some pretty powerful facts there, no? And yet, has anyone seen any billboards with any of that information? 

I read an article by Sayer Ji devoted to the subject of this debate on Dr. Mercola's website today and it got me to rethink my respect of the pink ribbon campaign. I don't know how it is for other people... Whenever I get to a point in my life when certain important facts come out and make me completely change my mind about something or rethink my opinion on a subject I feel somewhat betrayed. So disappointing when you believed in a cause for some time thinking it was the real deal. If you're still wondering what I am talking about, please, read the article and watch the videos.

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