For years, we have known of the environment's assault on our breathing and other health issues, but not every neighborhood is afflicted with tar companies, toxic run-offs from factories old and new whose owners have ignored health concerns of employees and neighboring communities - more often than not, low wealth communities and people of color, depending on the state and locale - in the pursuit of cheaply earned profits. Minneapolis-St. Paul is ranked 5th for the greatest number of contaminated sites across the country (65,969 - one for every 48 people – plus 4,444 leaking storage tanks) with a mere 54 corrective action reports. We could go on about how the MPCA ignores the reality of polluting facilities, especially in this Metro Area. It's enough to know that our air and groundwater, foods, drugs, etc., are likely killing us before our time.
But this is an even larger system issue our policymakers and regulators and health care providers, especially pharmaceutical corporations, fail to address adequately to protect our children as well as our adults and stop the record number of cancer cases growing out of these toxic cities.
Although breast cancer runs rampant through the ranks of women for any number of reasons, environmental catalysts are certainly a clear cause of the majority of them. What else could yield such an epidemic as women have experience over the last 40-50 years? Other cancers in both men and women, not to mention children’s leukemia cases, are decimating our ranks. These are preventable cancers.
Toxicity and contamination from negligent corporations is not limited to leaking tanks and factories sites, power plants and farmlands. It can be found in our foods and cleaning products, our packaging and commercial operations at all retail levels, to mention but a few.
But few organizations have been successful in addressing those real causes, and why? Often co-opted by those corporations or needing to survive as institutions rather than working themselves out of jobs as cancer “preventers” and cure developers, they accept contributions from and come to rely on major corporate interests for their sustenance and, in the process, dispense with the soul of their existence. Has this happened with the pink movement? Some claim it has in the usurpation ofBreast Cancer Awareness Month.
Back in April, Women's Cancer Action, formerly Women's Cancer Resource Center, launched a non-profit organization and website, womenscanceraction.org, focused on cancer prevention and support. A new frontier in cancer resources and advocacy, WCA emerges uniquely grassroots and independent.
With the website as its communication and organizing hub, WCA is focused on exploring the link between cancer and the environment, connecting those in need with support, and encouraging bold action to address the political, personal, and societal challenges of cancer prevention.
Several women who have lived with cancer are the root of this movement and organization and are prepared to pour resources and energy into getting into the fight to install policies and processes to prevent cancer, especially in women, but anything done for women will surely ripple into all segments of the society.
TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with the founders, supporters and professionals involved in Women’s Cancer Action and how and why they came into being in the midst of a plethora of other groups claiming to do the same.