‘Stand Up to Cancer’ or Prevent It?

September 20th, 2010

By Christina Pirello: Time and time again Americans are asked to donate to the cause of curing cancer. We write checks, walk, run, climb, row, swim, bike, host parties, buy t-shirts, bumper stickers, hats and pink-ribbons … everything in an attempt to stem the tide of this disease that threatens to swallow us alive.

Now we are being asked once again to “Stand Up to Cancer” and contribute money to research so that scientific dream teams can come up with a cure once and for all and “so no child ever gets cancer again,” according to their pitch.

Doe-eyed ingénues and established Hollywood heavyweights fill our television screens asking Americans to open their threadbare wallets and give more money for more research that seems to get us nowhere fast. Hundreds of millions of dollars ($4.8 billion actually, according to the National Cancer Institute) are poured into cancer research annually and yet still no cure.

Does our society really want to cure cancer? We continue to have junk food marketed to us with such virulence that it would rival any brainwashing techniques. And we don’t question anything. We cling to our unhealthy behaviors long after they cease to serve our lives and in fact, begin to damage our health. Marketers and manufacturers have cashed in big time on that fact. They know too well that we want to make healthier choices, but we really don’t want to change, so they put check marks and health halos on junk food to imply that they now contain healthy ingredients.

And after years and years of eating the fake-foods they sell, we develop cancer and are shocked by the diagnosis, believing it came out of nowhere; as though the fickle finger of fate chose us. We blame the environment, genetics, fate. The truth is we chose to live in a way that created the perfect environment for cancer to grow and spread. And even though we created it, we want someone else to cure it so we can just go blithely along, changing nothing and wondering why the outcome isn’t altered. While genetics play a role in some cancers, to be sure, it’s not the majority of cases according to most experts…


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