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What is responsible for all these cases of cancer?

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Editor: In 2002, I lost an uncle, who was a farmer, like most of his siblings, to cancer. Since then, this disease has been on my mind. Not so much because of the “rule?” which says that if a relative gets stricken, some other family member, due to heredity, is bound to get hit, but precisely because I do not believe it.{{more}} Before I get to that, however, allow me to list a few people well known to me (without inserting names), who are not with us anymore because of this dreaded killer.

A few years after my uncle (2011), I said goodbye to another relative; her cause of death was cancer. In February, this year, we said goodbye to another young friend (his family and mine having had a long history of social closeness). Again cancer was the cause of his early demise. Last week (ending April 4), we said goodbye to another youngster — one of my former students; once more cancer had struck. This weekend April 11, another long-standing acquaintance went to an early grave, while not too far from her, another youngster, not yet fifty, was getting her send-off; the cause of death, as you may have guessed, reported to be cancer. As I write, April 12, 2015 at 1.53 p.m., we are preparing to lay another cancer victim from my general area to rest. In the latter case, though, the person, like my uncle, has lived his three score and 10.

If the diagnoses given to these people and all the reporting were correct, then we may well be in a cancer epidemic and I am certain that there are other people who share that perception. We must all be asking: what in heaven’s name could be responsible for all these cancers? I propose to make some observations, which I hope will start the discussion on this expensive and deadly scourge. But for now, please allow me lay out my thesis that our cancer problem is being fuelled primarily by our food supply and our over exposure to chemicals, two issues that are interrelated.

As an aside, if I may nudge you just a little (especially if you have passed mid-30), think back to just 20 years ago, when the word cancer was only part of your vocabulary because you read it in a book. Fast forward now to today’s date and count up how many victims of cancer (dead or alive), you personally knew/know. Let’s ignore the fatalistic thinking that “something must carry yo home” or the idea that “cancer runs in the family so someone go get it.” Please, we need to start talking about this phenomenon. What are we doing wrong, allowing it to decimate us so? How long shall we allow it to kill us off while we just stand bemused and look?

In my next submission, I will discuss at least one aspect of my thesis. In the meantime I do hope that the foregoing has sparked an interest in the topic. I find it hard to think that anyone, except a resident at one of our many cemeteries, will find this topic of no concern to him/her.

Lariston Antoine

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