Monday, August 30, 2010

Army of Women

For months I have been pondering the question of what caused my breast cancer. I do not fit the published profile; I am not overweight, not a heavy drinker, have never been a smoker, and there is no breast cancer in my immediate family. My routine mammograms were just that....routine. There was never even a blip of anything suspicious. I breast-fed both of my children (supposedly a breast cancer preventative). In short, I have been a naturally healthy person, but also a conscientiously healthy person, my whole life.

I like to make sense of situations. I even like to diagram sentences. Finding a pattern in a problem opens the door to a solution. So, I naturally started looking for a discernible pattern in breast cancer experiences among women. I found that the experiences are spread all over the map. Some women have a family history (actually a very tiny percentage of breast cancers are genetic), but most women have no real idea where their malignancy came from. They might postulate that it was hormone replacement therapy or exposure to pesticides (my friends and I have laughed about riding our bikes behind the DDT fogger in the summer evenings of our childhood) or too much red meat, or something in the water in their hometowns, or their deodorant. What activity or exposure flips the switch on those gremlins hiding in ones body?

Also, breast cancer treatment offers questionable outcomes. All of the therapies are toxic or destructive and potentially harmful themselves. The treatment choices are pretty limited, and can have awful side effects. However, most people are more afraid of the proliferation of the cancer in the present moment, than they are of the potential problems resulting from the "cure" somewhere down the road. I get that. What I don't get is why there has not been more time spent finding the cause of cancer, in order to "head it off at the pass." When the "cure" is often worse than the disease, why has there not been more effort expended looking at prevention rather than in developing toxic treatments which often cause cancers themselves.

Finally, someone is doing just that. I recently got some information from a friend ( another woman who was "blindsided" by a breast cancer diagnosis several years ago) about a great organization called Army of Women which is the brainchild of Dr. Susan Love, who has been the guru of breast cancer information for many years. She wrote one of the definitive guides to breast cancer, Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book. She has now teamed up with the Avon Foundation to enlist a million women to participate in studies to find the CAUSE or CAUSES of breast cancer. This is what I had been wishing for, long before I myself was diagnosed. Every time I would hear about another friend getting breast cancer, I would say "I wonder what is causing all of this cancer!" Finally, someone is doing something to find answers.

I plan to send an email to all the women on my email list about this effort to enlist a million women....both those with breast cancer and those urge them to participate in this effort. Observing the remarkable success of the Susan Komen Races and the money that has been raised for education and research for a cure, I have great hope that this Army of Women idea can accomplish the goal of discovering the underlying causes of this scourge. Please take a look at and join the fight to prevent breast cancer by discovering the causes.

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