Being aware of cancer … now what?


Raising Cancer Awareness … A rant …

Everyday it seems someone is posting on Facebook or sharing an email to raise cancer awareness. The best of all are the status updates on Facebook that seem absolutely ridiculous like “I’m sitting on my kitchen floor naked pretending to be a grub.”

If you “like”, or “comment” on, the status, you get a private message saying you’ve been duped and here is a list of 10 outlandish statuses, and you have to post one to help raise awareness for cancer? So I lie about what I’m doing right now, and somehow that raises awareness of cancer???

And then there is an “Eat ice cream for breakfast day” to raise awareness for a children’s cancer. Didn’t someone tell them that sugar feeds cancer? And dairy might too? (See this blog post)

As someone who is possibly living with cancer (who knows since I haven’t had a scan for a while) I really don’t need to be any more aware of cancer itself. And I suspect you don’t either. Because if we haven’t had our own diagnosis, then someone close to us probably has and many of us have lost at least one person we love to cancer.

In Australia, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85. It’s the leading cause of death here according to the Cancer Council Australia. Admittedly the fact that many of us are living longer increases the risk of cancer, but it’s also much more prevalent in people under 55.

So you could say I’m just a bit cynical about cancer awareness. And so much money seems to go towards it. For what? Certainly not to hospital beds, or home carers for people who need them. Or even for good healthy food that says to someone who’s sick “we care about you.” Here and here are articles by other cynics. And as for a cure …

In the United States of America we keep people with cancer alive until they run out of money – Howard Lyman

Cancer awareness means we can engage very briefly in whatever activity it is and then get on with our lives, feeling all that little bit better because we bought the pair of stockings we’ve been dying for, that happened to have a pink ribbon them, watched that moving video on Facebook or bought a bunch of daffodils that will brighten up our desk for a few days. And then we can just forget about it again.

Instead of becoming cancer aware, why don’t we become cancer preventative? I can hear some saying we can’t. We don’t know what causes it.

But that’s not true. We do know. It’s the Western lifestyle. For most cancers. Pure and simple.

In fact the American Cancer Society says this:

Cancer is caused by external factors, such as tobacco, infectious organisms, and an unhealthy diet, and internal factors, such as inherited genetic mutations, hormones, and immune conditions. These factors may act together or in sequence to cause cancer.

And this:

A substantial proportion of cancers could be prevented.

Many immune conditions are caused by poor gut health, which is caused by poor diet, and toxins in the environment. Hormonal conditions are also affected by diet and lifestyle. Remember I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue? That’s a hormonal condition. Stress has a huge role to play. And we also know that relaxation can change the way our genes express themselves. Poor genes do not guarantee cancer. It’s what we do with them.

My own doctors told me it was lifestyle factors when I was diagnosed. And there are other things that are directly linked to non-Hodgkins lymphoma, like pesticides and herbicides.

For example, the World Health Organisation recently declared that the active ingredient in Roundup, one of the world’s most prolifically used herbicides, probably causes cancer. In particular, this ingredient, glysophate, is linked to non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Yet the other day, I found that our local council had sprayed it on weeds right next to the children’s playground. And I saw them spraying it. I had to walk the other way because it was windy. I have written to the council. It’s okay they told me. They follow the instructions and wear appropriate protective clothing when spraying. But it’s still there … in our playground! Watch this space!

We all engage in activities that increase our risk of cancer. It’s true. Every time we light a cigarette, drink alcohol, go on a sugar binge, eat factory farmed meat, drink a milkshake, drive our cars, eat sprayed fruits and vegetables, cover our faces in chemical laden make-up, we expose ourselves and sometimes others, to a greater risk of cancer developing. Here is a list of proven risks from the Cancer Council Australia. And genes that are weakened by these activities can be passed on.

Where am I going with this?

While some cancer is purely random, I believe that most is the product of lovelessness. Our lack of love for ourselves, each other and our planet. If we really loved ourselves and each other, we wouldn’t allow ourselves and our loved ones to be exposed in this way. We would speak up and vote with our wallets. Instead, we are caught up in a paradigm of fear that has us all concerned with how much we have, how we look and if those things don’t satisfy, we eat ourselves to oblivion. And we live in ignorance of the consequences of our lifestyle. Or it’s just too hard and we try to look the other way.

And I don’t want to blame those who can’t afford to eat and live well. The absence of policies in place to support and empower them to do so is the result of more lovelessness. Why is junk food so cheap when fresh vegetables and fruit are not?

Marianne Williamson said this in A Return to Love:

Disease is loveless thinking materialized. This doesn’t mean that people who have contracted a disease thought lovelessly, while the rest of us didn’t. Great saints have contracted terminal illnesses. The lovelessness that manufactures disease is systemic; it is laced throughout racial consciousness. Which soul manifests illness is based on many factors.

Let’s say an innocent child dies of environmentally based cancer. How was lovelessness the problem here? The loveless thinking was not necessarily in the child but in the many of us who, over the years, lived without reverence for the environment, allowing it to be polluted by toxic chemicals. The child’s physical sickness resulted, indirectly, from the sickness in someone else’s mind. Our loving thoughts affect people and situations we never even dream of and so do our mistakes.

As a society, we talk about cancer as if we had no role to play in its spread. We concede to it and accept it. We do what the doctors tell us to do. When people die from it, or the effects of their treatment, we talk about their brave fight.

When someone takes control of their own health and overhauls their lifestyle then we pity them for making life so hard for themselves. We think they are a little nuts. Even though the statistics show that when people do this, they tend to survive longer.

I accept that my lifestyle choices had a huge role to play in my diagnosis. I’m not punishing myself for that. I’m simply taking responsibility for my health into the future. But a lot of it remains out of my hands because I live in the world.

However, here are some of the things I do: I don’t have any toxic chemicals in my house, I eat 95% plants (mostly organic) and only organic meat and eggs when I eat those foods (and am lucky I can), I filter my drinking water and carry a water bottle (stainless steel) around with me everywhere, I rarely wear makeup and if I do, it’s chemical and cruelty free, I use a bamboo toothbrush, my only skin care product is coconut oil, I recycle, compost and have a worm farm. I choose what I eat carefully, often taking my own food to places where I know there won’t be anything I can eat. I exercise every day. I meditate and turn on the relaxation response.

I am extremely aware of cancer, AND its causes. The real question is now what?

What are we going to do about it? What is one thing you can change in your life that might reduce the risk of cancer for you or your loved ones?

Some suggestions:

  • eat less red meat.
  • eat more plants, preferably brightly coloured ones and leafy greens.
  • go sugar-free.
  • have a makeup free day each week.
  • get the app or book The Chemical Maze to help you negotiate the supermarket aisles and read labels.
  • buy cleaning products without chemicals in them or here are some places you can find recipes for your own:
  • use a stainless steel drink bottle instead of plastic.
  • if you are a woman, take off your bra when you can and let the lymph flow. It helps to move toxins out of your body.
  • get your vitamin D levels checked.
  • walk for 30 minutes every day.

What will you do this week? Let me know in the comments and if you really want to raise cancer awareness, think about sharing this post. 

Be happy. Be well. Just be.

And so be it.

Jane x

6 Comments on “Being aware of cancer … now what?

  1. What a brilliant post Jane! I’ve been down the C road and completely get where your coming from with this! Once I took my health into my own hands that’s when the Big changes started to happen. People thought I was a bit nuts and pedantic going on a plant base diet and ditching all the chemicals but now they all want to know more, even the doctors, funny that!!! Xx


    • Oh thank you Alexandra and good on you! What a great journey! Intriguing that the doctors are interested in what you’ve done. Hopefully they’ll take note. Be happy. Be well. Jane x


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