Just about all of us know someone who's been affected by cancer. Many of us have lost friends and family members to the disease. It's depressing, overwhelming and enraging. The amount of money in the U.S. that has been raised and spent in fighting cancer is phenomenal. According to an 2014 article by Reuters, the National Cancer Institute reports that Washington has funded between $4.8 to $4.9 billion in cancer research every year. And, without being in the lab, it's hard to know just how far off a cure really is.
Thankfully, much of the cancer we see today is preventable. You could argue the cure for most environmental cancers is already at our fingertips and doesn't cost much at all. In his article below, Kamyar Enshayan addresses the issue of prevention in relation to society's use of pesticides, and we can easily apply this logic to our addiction to dirty energy. From power plants emitting carbon dioxide (CO2), to the transportation sector's diesel exhaust and CO2, to the nuclear industry's ongoing radioactive emissions and the chemical onslaught seen with fracking, we are knowingly exposing our communities to various cancer-causing discharges. Doctors, public health professionals and cancer prevention advocates need to get behind clean energy solutions. This is the only way to eliminate the disease threats that dirty fuels pose to us on a daily basis. Join the movement.
By Kamyar Enshayan I November 01, 2015
Another round of pink ribbon this, T-shirt that, 5K runs, fight-for-the-cure walks, and click-here-to-donate was upon us during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October). Clearly we need to raise awareness and support those affected, but we do not seem to be serious about addressing the root causes.
The emphasis is on early detection and treatment (after you have cancer) and on personal responsibility, like diet and physical activity, which are all necessary. But the most effective prevention strategy — a healthy environment to live in — is not on our pink to-do list.
You almost never see or hear the word “carcinogen” in doctors’ offices nor in educational campaigns about cancer. Here is what a basic human genetics textbook says about cancer: “As much as 90 percent of all forms of cancer are attributable to specific environmental factors. Because exposure to these environmental factors can, in principle, be controlled, most cancer could be prevented.” The textbook continues: “Reducing or eliminating exposure to environmental carcinogens would dramatically reduce the prevalence of cancer in the United States.” Let’s repeat this over and over again.
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