Last week a friend posted a slideshow of her niece on facebook. The girl's father had written a song to accompany the photos of his daughter's battle with leukemia. It made me cry.
The fact that a 5-year-old girl should have to summon such courage takes me quickly from tears to anger. Children should not be battling cancer, yet more and more are forced to do exactly that. A report released last week confirmed that childhood cancer rates are higher than ever before, and continue to climb.
As evidence linking pollutants and cancer becomes increasingly clear, scientists around the world are calling for something to be done — and they're getting downright pushy about it.
Well maybe not pushy, exactly. But definitely pointed and impatient as they urge policymakers to take steps now to protect us from chemicals that cause cancer.
Childhood. Cancer. These two words should have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Childhood is about exploration and discovery, joyful learning about the world around us. Cancer is about fear, roller coasters of painful treatment and hopeful remission, and all too often, death.
Yet the two words are indeed linked. Childhood cancers — including brain cancer and leukemia — have been on a steady rise in this country for the last 20 years. And increased exposure to cancer-causing chemicals is known to be one of the reasons behind this horrifying trend. It's time to turn the numbers around.
Washington DC is a funny place.
On the one hand, the energy and excitement of power is palpable: decisions are made here that affect people across the country and around the world. Smart people of all stripes dedicate themselves to creating, influencing, critiquing or reporting on policies that shape our society.
For the past month, pink ribbons have been everywhere — along with bracelets, shoes, t-shirts, even pink KFC buckets.
Yet for all this colorful breast cancer awareness, somehow we're still not talking about one of the key things we can do to prevent the disease: stop eating, drinking and breathing cancer-causing chemicals.
Every October, The Breast Cancer Fund updates State of the Evidence. The report examines the latest on what scientists know about the links between chemicals in the environment and breast cancer. The 2010 edition is chock full of information on how pesticides and other chemicals (in food packaging, cosmetics, health care products, household cleaners and more) are contributing to our breast cancer epidemic.
Those cancer-causing chemicals approved for widespread use on our farms and in everyday products? Well, they’re causing cancer. Lots of it.
The numbers are staggering, really. According to a report delivered to the White House last month by the prestigious President’s Cancer Panel, 41 percent of the U.S. population will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and one in five Americans can expect to die from the disease.