Friday, October 16, 2009

Geez Louise

I stumbled upon a really interesting online magazine called Geez several months ago. In their latest issue, an article called "The War on Cancer" has got me thinking.

The article begins with this:

"Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place."
When I first read these opening words in Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag, I thought them interesting, but not personally relevant. Now, over 30 years later, having been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer, I read them as one whose passport is stamped as a reluctant traveler into “the kingdom of the sick.”
Then, later in the article:
The only way we in the West seem capable of coping with things we fear, whether cancer, drugs, or terror, is to declare war on them. Making war still seems to be the way we choose to muster, or manipulate, large numbers of people in a common cause. So in 1971, President Nixon declared the "War on Cancer."
The war metaphor has served the cancer industry at the expense of prevention.

In her book "The Secret History of the War on Cancer", Devra Davis says the "proof that how and where we live and work affects whether we may get cancer has been ignored." She says cancer reserach is controlled by members of "astonishing alliances between naive or far too clever academics and folks with major economic interests in selling potentially cancerous materials."
Along the same lines, the article discusses chemical conglomerate AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca makes Tamoxifen, the number-one selling breast cancer drug, but they also make Acetochlor, a herbicide that has been classified by the Environmenal Protection Agency as causing cancer.

(Dear AstraZeneca employees who are now reading due to this blog entry setting off a Google Alert in your marketing department: That is pretty damning. You cannot put a pink-ribbon gloss on dousing our environment in carcinogens.)

The article ends with this powerful thought:
We need more of what the Poet Laureate Audre Lord envisioned - the halls of power reverberating with the demands of thousands of one-breasted women and those who love them demanding that cancer-causing chemicals be outlawed. After all, I can only be healthy if I live in a community in which the air, water, and food is free of poison for everyone.


♥Aubrey said...

Hello...pic #7 come to my house :)
Hope you have a wonderful weekend hun.

K said...

I know, what a fantastic little nook!