Rant: Cancer Lesson #63 — Everything gives you cancer.
One of the (many) weird things about having survived breast cancer is that no one really knows why I got it. As you can imagine, this makes it hard to figure out how to avoid a recurrence.
That doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of opinions on the subject. In fact, quite the opposite is true. There are a plethora of behaviors, foods and environmental factors that have been linked to cancer.
Here’s something to try next time you’re feeling bored. Type ___________ and “cancer” into your favorite search engine. Fill in the blank with whatever you like. I’d lay money on you getting some kind of response that says that thing either causes or prevents cancer.
For example, “tea and cancer” (since I’m drinking a cuppa) rewards us with “Tea contains polyphenol compounds, particularly catechins, which are antioxidants and whose biological activities may be relevant to cancer prevention …” from Cancer.gov.
(http://tinyurl.com/7kzr65f). Great! Excuse me while I go make another cup.
“Reading and cancer” brought up “A new study released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control has found a direct link between a particularly aggressive strain of ocular cancer and reading text on a computer screen …” Good thing I noticed “The Onion” heading at the top of the page, or I’d have been really worried. (http://tinyurl.com/422tzvy)
The Mayo Clinic (http://tinyurl.com/csjkds) says a glass of red wine is good for your heart, so let’s try “alcohol and cancer. The result from Examiner.com reports: “Women who consumed even “modest” alcohol (equivalent to 3-6 glasses of wine per week) were linked with a 15 percent increase of developing the disease …
That’s breast cancer they’re talking about (http://tinyurl.com/9rdegm8)
Because there’s a lot of talk about pregnancy’s effect on the risk of breast cancer, I searched “pregnancy and cancer.” The American Cancer Society’s site (www.cancer.org) came back with “… women who become pregnant while they are young and have many pregnancies may have a slightly lower risk of breast cancer later on. They are exposed to less estrogen. Women who have had no children or who had their first pregnancy after age 30, on the other hand, have a slightly higher breast cancer risk.” It’s all in the timing, I guess.
“Exercise and cancer,” “soda and cancer,” “lemon juice and cancer,” even “vinegar and cancer” — according to someone somewhere they’re all connected to cancer.
In fact, I finally searched “things that give you cancer” and came up with several lists, including this one that quotes the UK’s Daily Mail. Be warned before you click through, the list is a long one. http://hellokinsella.posterous.com/the-daily-mail-list-of-things-that-give-you-c
Can you blame me for being confused?
Is there anything I can do to prevent a recurrence? Alas, the American Cancer Society says ” … even if you do everything just right, the cancer still might come back.” Later in the same article, they continue, ” … with our current understanding of how it develops and grows, cancer is still a mystery in many ways.”
There are no guarantees.
But then, there never were.
So, here’s what I’m doing to try to avoid a recurrence. And remember, this is just what seems logical to me — my personal plan of attack.
- Eat more vegetables (grown organically and/or locally when feasible) and less chemical-laden processed foods.
- Exercise regularly. For me, this is at least three times a week and should be more.
- Know what’s important and what’s not worth worrying about.
- Take a multi-vitamin, calcium, and my hormone inhibitor.
- Enjoy time doing the things I love, with family and friends and sometimes by myself.
- Keep my sense of humor.
To help with the last point, here’s a repost of Joe Jackson and “Cancer.”