Yesterday was not a good day for bad news. Is any day? It seems that, as I get older, each day presents itself as an opportunity to be reminded to enjoy life to its fullest. I found out yesterday that three people I care about have just been diagnosed with cancer; two of my friends moms have lung cancer and one of my girlfriends who is my age has breast cancer. Cancer sucks.
I found out just how badly cancer sucks over 20 years ago when my best friend was diagnosed with cancer. Her family is riddled with cancer and now her mom is "it" in this cruel game of tag. It's really that simple isn't it? Like a game of tag, you never know if it's your turn to be "it". Even if you have no history of cancer in your family, you really have no way of knowing if and when it will be your turn.
So what the hell is going on? We all know that heredity plays a part of course but what about people without the obvious risk factors? Why are they getting cancer? Why are so many of us getting cancer? Why are we all seemingly at risk?
"In 2009 alone, approximately 1.5 million American men, women, and children were diagnosed with cancer, and 562,000 died from the disease. With the growing body of evidence linking environmental exposures to cancer, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures that could have been prevented through appropriate national action." - The President's Cancer Panel
Earlier this year, the President's Cancer Panel released a 240 page report which detailed all that we know about the risks of getting cancer from the chemicals in our environment. In a letter to the President that prefaces the report, the panel wrote that “the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated.” Out of the over 80,000 chemicals that are being sold for use in our consumer products and food, do you know that only a few hundred have actually been tested for safety? Yup, our chemical company buddies get to just tell us that their chemicals are safe just because they say they are. We believe them of course because our government knows they are trustworthy.
Look, with all of the STUFF that is coming at us all each and every single day (the alarm didn't go off, what's for dinner, the dog peed on the new rug, the baby has a fever, I got laid off, the computer crashed, mom has cancer...), just do me one favor. Take each day that is given to you, and live life to its fullest. I don't mean go out and empty your bucket list today. It's not that big. It's the little things that matter right? Just give butterfly kissed whenever you can. Call that old friend who you thought would be better off left in your past. And more than anything else, tell the people who matter to you...that they do.
Picture credit: GoGreenMachine.org
Sources: RESEARCH ISSUES AND INITIATIVES: Cancer Report Examines Environmental Hazards, The President’s Council Panel Report: Enough to make you turn “green?”, The American Cancer Society