My motivation for writing this blog is not to upset people or to dismiss the wonderful work people are doing in cancer research. I am writing this to open the door to the notion that cancer could be thought, to a degree, as self-inflicted and it would be prudent to put effort into negating this infliction. If I personally had a choice between having cancer and being cured of it, or never having it at all- I would pick the latter in a heart beat, as most people would. But, the majority of the focus and money is put towards treating the effect, or what is essentially, a symptom.
The World Health Organization stated that only 3-5% of reported cancer cases are linked to heredity, meaning that 95-97% of cancer cases are environmentally caused. Cancer is the second highest cause of death in the United States, but it is not considered to be a preventable cause of death- why is this?
Say you get cancer and go through the status quo of cancer treatment and beat cancer and then resume your life as it was before. Essentially not changing any of the environmental conditions that preceded your cancer- if this was the case, it would be irrational and illogical to assume that you will remain cancer free. As you have done nothing to negate the causal conditions.
Say you owned a goldfish and were negligent and did not clean the water regularly. Say, this goldfish became ill and you brought it to the vet and it was nursed back to health and cured- would it logically follow to put the fish back in the dirty water? The negligence and failure to change the harmful environment for the goldfish is no different than a person failing to change the environment conditions after surviving cancer. Moreover, why don’t you just change your goldfishes water in the first place- why create harmful conditions and put your poor little fish at risk? And more to the point, why do that to yourself?
You may assert that the environmental causes are things you can’t control and therefore, it’s not fair to consider them to be preventable. The leading preventable causes of death are as follows: medical error, smoking, obesity (metabolic disorders), alcohol, infectious disease and toxins. (www.csdp.org)
Here is a short list of the environmental risk factors for cancer (www.cancer.gov):
- Smoking (preventable)
- Infectious disease (preventable)
- Immunosuppressive medicine
- Diet (preventable)
- Alcohol (preventable)
- Physical activity (preventable)
- Obesity (preventable)
- Environmental risk factors, such as: air pollution, water pollution, and pesticides (Toxins) (Preventable- via legislation and government intervention)
As you can see, for the exception of medical error, the leading preventable causes of death are also known risk factors for causing cancer. Illustrating that, for the exception of sun (radiation), immunosuppressive medicine and the 5% hereditary cases, cancer is preventable. Of the roughly five billion dollar budget of the American Cancer Society, only 3.8% of that budget is invested in cancer prevention. It is not shocking that cancer rates continue to rise, as it does not logically follow to assume that anything will change, without an active effort in negating the causal conditions.
There is a high probability that you know somebody who will be inflicted with cancer at some point and it is quite possible that it will be preventable. Is it worth trying?
We can all use a cleaner fish bowl.
There are some organizations doing wonderful work on cancer prevention, such as: