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The American Cancer Society’s recently released study that reveals an increase in colorectal cancer mortalities in the past 13 years comes as a shock to some, and little surprise to others. I stand among the others, who understand the dubious intents of organizations like the AMC, the role of diet in disease prevention, and what’s really behind the AMC’s and physicians’ cancer ‘screenings’ campaigning.
The new study found that incidence rates of colon and rectal cancer are on the rise in American adults under the age of 50, which is considered relatively young by medical standards, and is also the recommended colorectal screening age.
Researchers and doctors say they are nonplussed – how could this be happening when more and more Americans are submitting to colonoscopies to screen for colon and rectal cancers?
Those who’ve dutifully followed their doctors’ orders and submitted to the invasive and risky procedure are also scratching their heads. No one seems to understand why those who are following AMC guidelines and their doctors’ advice are developing cancer at an increasing rate.
Here are some ideas. If you’ve read this blog before, you probably know my thoughts on cancer screening procedures like mammograms, prostate exams, and colonoscopies. I think they’re bunk. I think the campaign for such procedures are profit-driven, thinly-veiled attempts to keep Americans on a medical treadmill all their lives. I think screenings do nothing to reduce deaths from cancer, and if anything, amplify the risk. And I think a little research on the matter reveals all this to be true.
I could give you concrete examples - people who I’ve known who obediently got their annual and other screenings - who developed cancer nonetheless, and died of it. Never mind the folks I know who’ve never had a screening and who are alive and well today: luck does play a part in this.
But it’s galling to know someone who jumped through all the hoops placed before him and who died of the very disease he was told he would probably avoid if he visited the doctor regularly. I have known more than one person who faced this.
But let’s lay personal experience aside for a moment. There is no reliable evidence to suggest that mammograms, for instance, save lives. But there is reason to confidently believe that the intense pressure placed on a breast when it’s flattened like a pancake between two parallel plates, then bathed in radiation, damages delicate breast tissue and increases the risk of trauma-related cellular changes and radiation exposure that can lead to a malignancy. The procedure is also excruciatingly painful, expensive, and terribly, terribly frightening.
I know, because I reluctantly had a mammogram. When I married, I hitched a ride on my husband’s medical insurance before knowing that it would require me to get a mammogram and a gynecological exam right off the bat, even though I was not yet at the recommended ago for a first screening. (A family history of cancers of all kinds sounded the alarm.)
I’ll never forget it. I began to black out as my breast was being compressed – the pain was that awful. And yet, the technician pushed me to continue with it, and I complied. The doctor had a look at the image, and then asked for another screening of one breast. So, we did it again. More crushing, more radiation. The results were not too bad – there was a spot of ‘concern’ that the doctor didn’t believe was something to lose sleep about, because I’m relatively young, and my breast tissue is still quite dense. He wanted me back in 6 months for a follow-up screening.
I returned, because by now, the insurance company was completely involved and wouldn’t take no for an answer. That 6-month wait was scary. The second screening was like the first. Bruised breast tissue, fear, and more radiation. The diagnosis was that there was nothing there to worry about. The spot of “concern” had disappeared. In fact, the doctor described my breast tissue as the clearest he had ever seen, or as he put it, “clear as a beach ball”.
I had been put through torture just to find out what I already knew about my own breasts – they were fine. They weren’t riddled with disease. They weren’t going to kill me. My body isn’t my enemy.
I paid the hefty deductible and went about my life. But I felt that I had been violated, and had danced dangerously close to something I’d spent my life avoiding – the medical treadmill. Once you jump on that thing, they’ve got you. You’re a professional patient. Your paychecks will be surrendered to deductibles and co-pays, and your peace of mind is relinquished. You’ll never trust your body again. And your health will suffer. As sure as your born, your health will suffer.
The gynecological exam was much the same, except for one thing: I’d learned my lesson from the mammogram, and put on the brakes. The doctor proclaimed post-exam that I had a “bulky uterus” and ordered an ultrasound. I thanked her for her expertise, left her office, and never troubled myself with an ultrasound. I removed myself from my husband’s insurance policy, and made other arrangements for my health.
Some friends said I was crazy. Have the ultrasound, they said: aren’t you afraid that there’s something wrong? If there is, don’t you want to catch it early?
‘Catching it early’ is a phrase that makes me wince. Catch what early? Cancer? In most cases, by the time a cancer is detectable, its already developed to an advanced stage. Let’s say that a cancer starts its life on a cellular level in my breast today. By the time any doctor is going to feel or see a mass, this cancer has been growing for up to 10 years, and is already a problem that all the medical industry’s tricks are never going to solve.
In other words, cancer – and any honest doctor will admit this – is still beyond the scope of control. It just is. Hence, it’s one of the ways we die. No one likes this, we all fear it, but if we buy into the jargon about screenings and early detection, then we’re not only kidding ourselves, but we’ve stepped on that fruitless and deadly treadmill.
No one knows of a way to prevent cancer. Heart attacks happen to the most fit among us, and cancer kills the most clean-living people. We know there are conditions that lead to an overall decline in health and make us more susceptible to diseases of all kinds – obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use, and excessive stress.
But the bottom line is this: death is on the radar for us all, and cancer is on the radar for many of us, especially as we age. It’s part of the risk of being alive.
So, what about this new report that speaks to an increase in colon and rectal cancer deaths? Now you’re going to read what you may not want to read, if you’re a big fan if cheeseburgers.
I solemnly believe that what we eat plays an utterly huge role in our health. Specifically, I believe that the consumption of animal products does more to raise the risk of diseases like cancer and coronary artery diseases than any other single factor in play.
When we consume meat or dairy, we consume pure, saturated animal fat. A little reading will tell you that this fat is at all not metabolized like plant fats. Saturated fat, nearly unchanged by digestion, finds a highway in our bloodstreams, where it soon parks itself in the arteries throughout our bodies, slowing circulation, and in many cases, stopping it. It’s just how saturated animal fat behaves.
When we consume meat or dairy, we consume animal tissues and fats that have been hyper-dosed with the agro industry’s favorite cocktail of estrogen (to promote lactation in female cows), growth hormones (to create insane body mass in chickens), pesticides (placed in animal feed to ward off insect infestations), fungicides, antibiotics (which wreak havoc on our own digestive probiotics and lower our resistance to disease), and in 60 percent of processed meat and 40 percent of processed chicken, E coli (that number rises to 60 percent in chicken), salmonella, and campylobacter.
When we consume meat or dairy, we consume cruelty. There are those who still don’t understand the impact of this. What we eat, we become. The palpable energy of food affects our vitality with each bite. Anyone who has ever adopted a plant-based diet knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Relinquishing food that has been sourced from the suffering of other beings changes us down to the core, so profoundly that it’s impossible to articulate. We lack the language to describe it. But we learn though this process, through this change, that there is a lot more to what we eat than what meets the eye.
I believe a life best lived is one where medical help is sought for triage-worthy situations – broken bones, thunderbolt coronaries, arterial bleeding. But medical screenings are an expensive, frightening, and risky waste of time, and are part of a larger dynamic that wants to place us all on that treadmill and keep us running nowhere.
The AMC’s latest study demonstrates this once again, although the AMC is reluctant to admit it and is looking elsewhere for an explanation for the rise in cancer that no one can seem to explain.
You bet I’m up on the soapbox preaching a plant-based diet. It’s the one thing we can have absolute control over regarding our health and the future of this big rock we’re perched on called Earth. And if there’s one thing I want to do successfully, it’s place the power over and responsibility to my health where it belongs – squarely in my own hands.
Much love.Barbie xo