I’m beginning to think that a certain part of the female anatomy should be added to the list of endangered species. Why do I say this?
First of all, I do not wish to approach this subject from the perception of body imaging. August McLaughlin did a wonderful job on this topic already this week with her post, “Body Image: Exploring Myths & Walking the Walk.”
No, my reason for saying this has more to do with our environment, both physical and in nature. I read a review the other day about a book that was recently release by a woman named Florence Williams. Then after finishing it I thought I would share with you some of the highlights.
One out of every eight women today will develop breast cancer in their life and more than 5 million women have had implants. That’s quite a staggering statistic, wouldn’t you say?
Although I have lived among two high income communities in my life that exude all things augmented, as if a teenage girl’s rite into the throngs of womanhood should include an emboldened pair of new breasts, this is not what I wish to focus on. Yet, to those woman who have fought the fine fight and won their battle with that dastardly evil malignancy, I am happy that modern science has had a positive restorative affect on your bodies. 🙂
It seems that whether we are man or woman, we love those glandular beauties known as breasts, yet we don’t take them seriously enough. Florence writes, “We name them affectionately, but with a hint of insult. Breasts embarrass us. They’re unpredictable. They’re goofy. They can turn both babies and grown men into lunkheads.”
Okay, those were her words, not mine!
Breasts feed us, nurture us and excite us. But the most versatile organ in the female body can also kill us. They are made up of fat and estrogen receptors— so they “soak up pollution like a pair of soft sponges.” Williams, an award-winning science writer, investigates why breasts are assaulted equally by men and a rising number of chemicals in the environment.
Ms. Williams, 45, who now has an eight year old daughter was inspired to write her book when she agreed to participate in a study of her breast milk while she was nursing her daughter. The results were shocking— her milk was full of chemicals, from pesticides to flame retardants.
“There were reports about toxic and chemical contaminants showing up in breast milk—it was a great way to tell the story first-person,” she told ABCNews.com. “I realized there was so much about breasts people don’t know.” Now Florence worries about research that shows girls are beginning puberty and developing breasts younger, perhaps because of exposure to pollutants. “There are hundreds of chemicals coursing through our blood,” she said.
I don’t know about all of you but to me this is scary stuff. As a Mother I know that it was important to me to give my baby the best start in life and had made the decision to breast feed my children when they were born. After all, according to Ms. Williams, mother’s milk is “always the right temperature; it has the correct balance of lipids, proteins and sugars. It is medicinal, nutritious, and, to a baby, delicious.” But to find out about this chemical information I guess was just a little more shocking than I had anticipated.
Her study also includes a phenomenon not considered before: Breast milk contains a substance comparable to marijuana and is sold on the Internet in the neighborhood of 262 times the price of crude oil.
Why are we always forced to pay more for something that’s supposed to be healthy?
But her biggest concern is the vulnerability of breasts with cancer rates doubling since the 1940s. She can’t say for a certainty that chemicals in the environment cause breast cancer, but she says that the breast is the one organ in the body that is not fully developed until adulthood or even the last trimester of pregnancy.
“For many years, breast cells are interchangeable and more vulnerable and so are susceptible,” she said. Girls who go through puberty earlier are also at greater risk for breast cancer as adults. “We don’t know why,” she said.
I thought that this point was interesting: In Europe chemicals must be proven safe before entering the marketplace. But according to Ms. Williams, “We have the opposite in the U.S. and don’t take them off the market until they are proven harmful.”
The article ended this way: Advances in science give reason for optimism, but “regulatory agencies and the public in general are generally blind to where science is. Our bodies are intimately connected to the world around us,” said Williams. “If we live in an environment filled with pollution, these things will and do affect our health.”
Whatever our personal viewpoint is on this subject, I think it’s safe to say that the breasts we are born with, whether man or woman, are under assault and at risk of becoming an endangered specie. How many of us have or know someone whose been affected by Breast cancer? Or cancer period?
There’s just too many of us!
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go re-read my article, “Sexy as a Rockstar” and start eating more of that bad boy Kale and detox once I finish writing this post! 🙂
So what do you think? What is your personal feeling about this subject? Have you or someone you love been affected by Breast cancer? And what do you think about our toxic environment? And how has it affected you?
Thank you everyone for dropping by and for all your wonderful comments!
What a unique and invaluable post! My twenty-something-year-old cousin recently overcame breast cancer, while she was pregnant. (I know, sounds crazy, right? But it all worked out, I think much due to her crazy positive attitude..that and stellar medical care.) Cancer is, well, a cancer! There are reasons the same word is used to describe horrific happenings…
Thanks for inspiring us to think more about our breasts in a grateful and serious way. Thanks also for the lovely shout out. 🙂
August McLaughlin recently posted..The Bodacious Blogger’s Essential Ingredients
Oh wow August! Having breast cancer in your twenties is not a cool thing at all. They say it’s the worst time to get it. And while she was pregnant? That IS crazy! Her attitude was a huge reason for her recovery. So glad to hear that she has recovered! And you are welcome. You’re posts are always enlightening! Thanks August for stopping by and sharing such an amazing story! 🙂
Hi Karen.. There are a lot of things we need to know more about this and I am just glad you have shared this with us.. Great job!
Hi Gisele! Thank you so much for your thoughts and I’m glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂
This post has made me remember that I’ll be 41 in a couple of weeks and I still haven’t had my first mammogram. Breast cancer scares the daylights out of me. I don’t know ANYONE who hasn’t been touched by the disease in some way, so this is indeed a very important post.
Julie Hedlund recently posted..Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Night Before Mother’s Day
Uh oh Julie, that’s not good. You best be getting yourself in for a mammogram soon girl! Nope, we don’t want any of that breast cancer around here. Yes, it is scary Julie. Thank you for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts! 🙂
Really great post, Karen with so much food for thought! I’m well (and I do mean well) overdue for a check-up and now that I’m over 40, I suppose it’s time for my first mammogram. I’m going to get this done!
Ginger Calem recently posted..WritersButt Wednesday: 5 things you may NOT be doing, and sabotaging yourself.
Yes, Ginger, you best be getting that mammogram done girl! They want a base-line mamography at that age anyway. Go now and get it overwith. I know, it isn’t the most pleasant experience, but it’s important. Thanks so much for stopping by Ginger! 🙂
This was one thing I never worried about because it doesn’t run in my family, but reading this about the environmental affects and reading Christine’s story…whoa. Scary stuff. I’ll stop complaining about the yearly mamiogram now.
Great post title by the way!
Exactly Shannon! Those mamiograms aren’t the nicest things to experience. But now I’m thankful we have them. Stay healthy and thank you for your comment Shannon! 🙂
Environmental contamination hurts everyone. I certainly hope the best minds are working on all this…Thanks for a very important post, Karen.
Diane Capri recently posted..Remembering John Thaw and Inspector Morse*
Hi Diane! I love how your mind works. “I certainly hope the best minds are working on all this.” Absolutely! Because it’s going to take only the best to figure out how to fix this problem! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for stopping by Diane! 🙂
Breast cancer doesn’t run in my family, but heart disease does, so I’ve always been more concerned about that. One of my good friends, however, has lost most of the female members on her mom’s side of the family to breast cancer, and despite the efforts of everyone to convince her, she still refuses to get regular check-ups. It frightens me.
Marcy Kennedy recently posted..Four Little-Known Factors that Could Destroy Your Blog’s Chances of Success
Hi Marcy! Heart disease is no small matter where health is concerned! Ooh, see, that’s what’s been bothering me too Marcy. We all know someone whose been affected by breast cancer. If not us, close relatives or friends. And you have every reason to be worried about your friend. You might just have to make the appointment and drag her there yourself. I’ve heard of that one being done my friend. She’ll thank you later. Thanks Marcy for sharing your thoughts and for coming by! 🙂
My maternal grandmother died of breast cancer and I know my mother has had a few lumpectomies, but luckily no cancer. It does make me glad, though, that I don’t have the boobs of that side of the family. When I was younger I used to want big boobs like that side of the family, but now I’m ok with my little ones.
Emma Burcart recently posted..Isn’t My Body A Temple?
Oh, I am so sorry to learn about your grandmother and mother. You know what Emma? Who would of thought we’d be glad about the small things in life? And then again, it’s all in the way we look at ourselves, isn’t it? August did an amazing job on her post about self-image. You’re a beautiful woman Emma! Taking care of ourselves by eating right, excercising and having a positive attitude in life is what it’s about. Thank you so much for your comment and visit today! Have a great week! 🙂
Superb post, Karen! It saddens me that I can count more than five good friends lost to breast cancer. Thank you for bringing this to everyone’s attention. I remember reading recently that the Monsanto weed killer Roundup was showing up in breast milk. Food for thought. Like Prudence I try to buy organic whenever possible. I’m very far from perfect at it, but I figure I’m doing myself good, and sending the message to suppliers that organic sells.
Serena Dracis recently posted..Wild Wednesday – How To Raise Chickens In The City
Oh Serena, I am soo sorry to hear about your friends! That is heartbreaking girl. Too close to home! I’m glad you appreciate the post Serena. Too many people are in the dark about this information and I didn’t I didn’t even bring out the whole of it. Don’t get me started on Monsanto girl! Monsanto is owned by a pharmaceutical company. And they know about the connection between their chemicals and cancer. But they also feel that they have the solution/fix for the end result/cancer. It’s big business and money involved. It’s a shame. And yes, eat organic as much as possible. I’ve read many articles that even suggest not eating out. That the food we eat at a restaraunt is full of harmful ingredients. Isn’t that food for thought? Thank you so much Serena for weighing in on this important issue! 🙂
I’m booking a mammogram, Karen. Thanks for this post.
Well said Pat! I count on you to get right to the point! Thank you for that and run, don’t walk to that mammogram! 🙂
My grandmother died of breast cancer, but because she was in her 80s it was considered to be an environmental thing–rather than genetic. Like CC above I am concerned with soy products and I minimize them–I also don’t eat meat. A family friend went years having one biopsy after another for her constant lumps and when she stopped eating meat, she stopped getting lumps. Interesting, right? Although it might not be the meat itself, it could be the toxins in it. I recently heard of killer whales getting breast cancer because they are ingesting the plastic garbage in the ocean. Crazy.
Coleen Patrick recently posted..Carry Weapons of Minimal Destruction and Other Motherly Advice
Oh Coleen, that is so interesting girl about the red meat! But it make so much sense. Our meat/cows are pumped up with hormones and ingested into our bodies and stored where? In the fatty tissue of our breasts. And like sponges, they soak it up. And that makes you wonder if that’s the reason for the lumps. That makes so much sense Coleen! And I can believe the connection between plastics/petroleum and cancer in the whales. We’re killing those beautiful giant mammals. Oh yes it’s crazy! I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother, but good to know that it wasn’t a genetic thing. We want to keep you around for a while longer girl! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this subject with all of us Coleen! 🙂
Wow, Karen, this is an excellent post. What an eye opener. Just insane. My mom had breast cancer and is a survivor. Cancer is an ugly, horrible disease, and I know and have lost too many people to it.
CC, thank you for sharing your experience. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through so much, but thank God your prognosis is good and they caught it early. More people need to know about that genetically modified soya. Here you thought you were eating so healthy and it could have killed you.
I missed August’s post about that. I’ll have to go and read it.
Lynn Kelley recently posted..Blogoversary – First Post Revisited – A Call For Help!
Thank you Lynn! Ooh, sorry to hear about your mom, but good to know that she survived the fine fight for her life! And yes, Christine was so generous for sharing her personal experience. Thank you for bring that up Lynn! As I just mentioned to Veronica. Knowledge is power. The more we know, the more educated our decisions are that can help us live a more productive and healthy life. And that was the reason why I wrote this post. Thanks for coming by Lynn and for sharing your thoughts! Take care and have a great week! 🙂
Great post karen. I’m from the UK who lives in the US and I often wonder about the chemicals in food. For example: bread. Bread in the USA is almost indestructible, it lasts forever. Not so in the UK, food goes bad a lot quicker. It worries me that food here is pumped full of preservatives that we don’t have in Europe, why is that?
Veronica, it’s so nice to meet you! Thank you so much for bring up that point. “Bread in the USA is almost indestructible!” You’re right. There’s something very wrong with that. There’s been a lot of discussion lately about genetically modified foods and wheat, which would be affected by GM seed. GM seed is infused with pesticides so that when it’s harvested, the pesticide remains in the grain and into the food chain. Lovely. And that’s why Europe won’t buy our wheat/grains. Hmm. That’s interesting. Shouldn’t that tell us something about how dangerous that food is? But we keep on eating it and expect to be healthy? I don’t think so. But then there’s Christine MacKenzie who commented below who lives in the UK and endured her bout with breast cancer. And it wasn’t environmental, it was hormonal. But then again, it was the food soya that feed the hormonal induced cancer. It’s a mess Veronica, but knowledge is power. So the more we learn and talk about it, the more we can make educated choices. Thank you so much for your thoughts and for your visit! I hope we’ll see you soon! 🙂
Great post, Karen. Worrying statistics about breast cancer. And I had no idea that mother’s milk could store toxics like that :/
I have my first mammography booked and I’m really worried about the pain. If men had to press their male thingies between two plates, there would already be a better technology for less painful scanning in every damn hospital.
Reetta Raitanen recently posted..Link Feast Vol. 7
Hi Reetta! I know, the statistics are horrible! And the fact that it’s in mother’s milk and you think that you’re giving your baby the best start and actually you’re giving your baby the first taste of environmental chemicals is a nightmare. Oh and how I feel for you Reetta. Uh, yeah, men would not go for the mammogram if they had their package flatten between two cold steel plates like a pancake! Although I thought I read somewhere, and don’t quote me on this, but I thought I read that they are designing something new and better. I just hope it’s sooner, not later. I’m due, or should I say, overdue for one. So I’m in the same boat girl. Thanks Reetta for your thoughts and for your visit! See you soon! 🙂
Like everyone else, I know a lot of women who have — or have had — breast cancer. Cancer, in any form, is a scary disease, made even more scarier because it seems there is little we can do to avoid those things that promote it. We can continue to fight for environmental wellness and hope that future generations will benefit from our efforts.
Great post, Karen. Thanks for sharing!
Sheila Seabrook recently posted..Heart of Mine by Michelle Beattie
See Sheila, that’s the thing. Years ago, it was only every once in a while that you heard about someone having cancer. Me get cancer? No, not me. But when you personally know someone, family perhaps or close friends, it hits home and becomes real to us. It’s an epidemic. No, I think it is more like a pandemic Sheila because there is just too many suffering from the effects of our sick environment. Thank you so much for your comment and for stopping by! Have a great week! 🙂
Ah well, you just know I’m going to wade in here, my darling.
I had a mastectomy of the right breast two years ago and have just finished reconstruction of the beast, er breast. I’m on a five year trial of Arimidex (Anastrosole) to make sure the bastard doesn’t return in my left breast. It was found during a routine test for something totally different and no one was more shocked than my surgeon and my doctors and myself and my family. My cancer is 97% hormone triggered and this is a good thing because they can fix me – if it’s caught in time. I had high grade, unstable DCIS which meant it was confined to the milk ducts. But if it had got out of the ducts I’d have had a very low chance of survival because it would have gone everywhere via the lymph glands -they’re all clear – I ducked a bullet.
There’s no history of breast cancer in my family. I’m fit, slim (about 120lbs 5’6″) never smoked and eat a healthy diet. And that, it appears, was the problem.
I was eating soya and soya products. Apparently genetically modified soya ‘switches on’ the estrogen hormone in breasts 600 times more than organic soya. And soya’s in everything we eat. August recently did a post on this very thing.
I’ve had six operations with another one pencilled in for later this year. My reconstructive surgery was done by placing an expander behind the breast muscle and slowly stretching it over the period of a year. Then I was given an implant which they now want to replace. The implant is perfectly fine and this has nothing to do with the recent scares. But my ribcage has sunk behind the implant and they want to replace it. After six surgeries I’m sick and tired of needles and hospitals and have postponed it twice because I’m writing and the general anaesthetic knocks me out creatively for at least two months. When I wear a bra no one would ever know I’ve had all this work done.
The hard part is the three monthly check-ups and the side effects of the drugs which has made my skin over sensitive and there are times when I feel unwell. The bout of mono at the end of last year didn’t help either. And also the affect this had had on my kids and Hugo. We women are the pivot around which our kids, friends and family circle. It’s been very very hard on them.
All I can say is that we all need to keep checking our breasts. I was shocked to be told that in the UK 48% of women invited for a mammogram do not turn up for the appointment. They are seriously insane! Any changes at all get them checked out and err on the side of caution. And cut out the soya girls it’s doing us more harm than good. I’ve been told this by my research nurses at my oncology department.
Great post, Karen!!
CC MacKenzie recently posted..FREEBIE FRIDAY
Well Christine, I have the upmost respect for you girl and the fact that you would share this with us says boatloads about the kind, generous person that you are. You’ve been through HELL! And yeah, you dodged a huge bullet! Thank you for bring out the information about soy. My husband years ago read about the hormonal affects of soy in our diets and the connection to cancer so I’ve stayed off of soy or should I say eat very little of it.
You remind me very much of a very good friend that a couple of years ago went through a similiar experience that you’ve gone through. Although her sister did die of brain cancer that started in the breast. They found cancer cells mostly in the one breast, but found a tinny, tiny bit in the other. So because she didn’t want to go through this horrific experience again, she chose to have both breasts removed. And then also went through the implant expander and replacement surgeries. Wow, it’s a bloody nightmare.
And why don’t women go in for mammograms? The first reason I think is because they’re afraid to know. And that’s a common reaction…fear. And then in other countries outside of socialized medicine, that test is costly and more and more women are under or not insured because of the economy.
I can’t imagine how all this affects the dynamics of a family. Although I did watch with close eyes as my girlfriend and her family suffered through this. And the ongoing testing every few months is grueling!
Thank you Christine for sharing your very personal experience with us. It was an act of love and we all love you for it!
Big Hugs to you girl! And I think I can speak for all of us! Take care and I mean it!!!! 🙂
That bad boy Kale, I love that!
Wow. My eyes are totally open now. I had no idea, absolutely none that my breasts were so toxic. I know there are toxins all around us, but I never thought of them as storage units for the evil stuff. Certainly makes you think twice about everything we ingest, but also about those things we can’t control ~ car smog, runoff, your neighbor’s smoking, etc. Yikes.
Thanks for the great info. Being aware is only a start, but it’s a good one.
Tameri Etherton recently posted..Blik ~ Animating Emotion Without Expression or Words
Hey there Tameri! Yep, got to love that bad boy Kale! Just so you know, I didn’t mean to make this post such a downer. It’s just that most people don’t think about how our bodies are little/big sponges and we’re just sucking up these toxins everyday and getting sicker and sicker. Yes, being aware is a start. Thanks for sharing your thoughts girl! Always great to see you! 🙂
This is food for thought all right, and food is where I think we should start. The Europeans are way ahead of us on this one. Consider carefully what you put in your body, and eat organic food whenever possible. I know I pay about twice for food what any other couple might spend, but I believe it is worth the expense. I give up other things. (Cablevision for example)
Prudence MacLeod recently posted..Successful Resolution
You are so right Prudence! Why is that, do you think? I feel like we’re test tube dummies over here. Why not test the chemicals first then release them if they’re safe like in Europe. Ah, but they aren’t safe and they know they aren’t safe and they don’t care. The same people who make those chemicals, make pharmaceuticals. Now that’s interesting. It’s a money machine Prudence. And I’m with you. Gave up cable for organic. And it is SO worth it girl! Thanks for weighing in on this subject Pru! 🙂
It’s certainly worrisome, but still hard to gauge the effects. Although it occurred to me as I was driving to work that the Canada geese near my house now have adorable babies in tow (which I had to stop for as they crossed the street), but the geese on base do not. Considering that our AF base is a huge research center, it made me wonder if there was a reason (like DDT) – or if the geese there were just too busy attacking cars and were late laying eggs. 🙂
Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..My Town Monday: Hangar 18, and Cover Sneak Peek
Aw Jennette, baby geese? How cute was that? Your point is well taken. The environment is affecting everything. Man and nature. Too busy attacking cars! LOL! You’re a nut Jennette. Thanks for your thoughts girl and have a great week! 🙂