Why did I get cancer?

The question that everyone asks themselves when they are first diagnosed with cancer, any cancer is, why me?  I am no different.  I discovered a discernible lump (outer upper right quadrant for those of you who know…. a common location) the year I turned forty-two but didn’t do anything about it for a year because I was swimming in separation and divorce waters and my medical wasn’t currently being paid.  (In British Columbia, Canada everyone is covered, but in that province a person is required to pay a monthly fee.)

The lump felt golf-ball sized but seemed to change shape and sometimes hurt so I didn’t worry because I’d heard that cancer lumps did not hurt.  I also thought that if I did have cancer then I was dead anyway because the lump was so large.

The following spring, just before I was going on tour for the summer in The Canadian Rockies I went to my new family doctor in Victoria and she immediately sent me for a mammogram and an ultrasound.  The day I was taking The Victoria Clipper to Seattle to start my first tour she called me in, I thought to tell me the good news; that I did not have cancer.  Well, that did not go as planned and I spent a rough night in a hotel in Seattle, then whipped into action the next day, getting books, supplements and networking.

The reason I didn’t really worry too much prior to my diagnosis with breast cancer was that I’d always been fairly healthy.  I ate well, mostly fresh foods and not much meat, got plenty of exercise and had never been overweight.  There is no history of breast cancer in my family and the only risk factor was that I had never had children.  So why me?

My conclusion was that my cancer was environmentally caused.  I spent two years in Northern California working as a landscape construction and maintenance worker doing  anything from digging ditches and installing irrigation to seeding lawns or laying sod (the most fun; instant gratification) and pruning and trimming.  We regularly used chemicals to kill weeds like Roundup and 2-4-D.  In the summer we would be sweating profusely in the 100°F and greater days and eat lunch right where we worked without really adequate hand washing never mind the probable skin contact or breathing in spray borne on the wind.

I’m not a scientist and I don’t even play one on TV but I did begin to think about what I could control regarding my cancer treatment and a big part of that was what I ate.  The doctors all said that it would do me no harm to cut way back on my animal fat intake and to eat as much organically grown foods as possible.  They also said that there was no proof that it would make a difference.  No proof because there is no profit from studies about fruits and vegetables and the chemical companies want to sell their products.  My heart told me that tending my diet closer to the natural way would benefit me.  This was just a portion of what I did but more and more I’m certain it was a crucial one.

Today I found part of an article that I think everyone should access and read.  Courtesy of Organic Consumers Association is this:  www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22875.cfm.  One has to wonder when the the humans who belong to the corporations and universities supporting GMO technology will think more for the world they are leaving their progeny and less about the profit margin.  Where is the profit in “…….compromises plant defense mechanisms and thereby increases their susceptibility to disease. He said that it reduces the availability and uptake of essential nutrients, and that it increases the virulence of pathogens that attack plants. Ultimately, Huber said, all of these factors reduce crop vigor and yield  (Yield Drag).”

We assume that the USDA exists to make sure that our food is safe but increasingly, it is obvious that they exist to make business easier for the corporations.  I for one am appalled to think that GMO alfalfa is going to be grown in North America.  Alfalfa is known for it’s helpfulness to soil nutrition but GMO alfalfa will negate that and take a step backwards.  If, as it has been said that 90% of citizens ( I hate the term ‘consumers’ as if we only exist to buy the crap they are trying to sell us) don’t want GMO food and want it to be labelled, then it’s about time we all participated in our democracy, making our position known and voting with our wallets.  Cut back on the cable TV and spend a bit more buying locally from growers you know and eating organic foods whenever possible.  You’ll feel better for it and your Mother Earth will thank you.

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One response to “Why did I get cancer?

  1. This article is quite powerful. I hope you publish it widely. So many people are far too quick to fall prey to both the medical/insurance establishment status quo, not to mention the general mentality that the media promotes. Thank you for such a well written, thought provoking post. Kate

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