Just like many cancer patients I wonder How I got cancer, and Why I had cancer at such an early age. (33) Was it because I ate the fish I caught out of the Staten Island harbor as a kid? Was it all of fumes I breathed-in living in a city? Is it because I was over weight? I easily get stressed out? Even after I was told I had the BRAC gene mutation, I still wondered why my grandmother didn’t get breast cancer until age 80 and then again at 85. Why did it take her a whole lifetime to develop a cancer that she had 85% chance of getting and why did I get it at age 33? Grandma was no health advocate- she had heart disease, severe diabetes, was overweight her whole life- she did everything to promote cancer- yet she didn’t get something she was per-dispositioned to until her 80′s.
So this is my background as I was listening to a recent interview on Fresh Air On NPR. (National Public Radio) Teri Gross was interviewing Florence Williams, Author ofBreasts; The Natural and Unnatural History
Since being a breast cancer survivor, and a double mastectomy patient- I sort of avoid lots of unnecessary discussions about breasts unless it’s laughing with my girls (survivors) about what we went through. But this interview really grabbed my attention. Basically the author was going through how our breasts are fatty tissue and fatty tissue absorbs chemicals easily that our bodies come in contact with. And there are a ton of chemicals that are allowed in the plastics we use, the receipts that we touch, the flame-retardants on our furniture and even in our canned food. If your a reader of my blog- you know that I first found out about BPA in our canned foods and store receipts at the Breast Cancer conference I went to in New Orleans. BPA is a form of synthetic estrogen- what it’s doing in our food supply and things we touch on a daily basis -I’ll never know. But what this author broke down for me is how our bodies react to those chemicals and how easily they get absorbed by adults, but especially by children. It’s why girls are having their periods sooner and why thyroid cancer is an epidemic.
So it turns out – even though I have the gene, all of these chemicals that were common practice when I was growing up probably accelerated my cancer growth. And even though my Grandmother was nowhere near healthy she didn’t develop cancer until her 80′s because most of her life was “pre-chemical” and non-intentionally “organic”. Back in 1921 when she was born- chemicals and plastics as we know them didn’t exist.
So I am going to shout from the roof tops until everyone I know who is a parent or a woman knows what kind of chemicals are out there and what they do to our bodies. Take 41 minutes and listen to this interview on NPR. You’ll be glad you did. Save the Boobies!