Summer has finally arrived. Unfortunately, summer activities can present opportunities to be exposed to environmental toxins from chemicals in our sun block to pesticides in our fruit salad that contribute to breast cancer. That’s why we are declaring this sun-kissed season as a time of reflection, advocacy, community, and education.
Today, when a woman’s lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. is approximately 1 in 8, we simply cannot continue ignoring the fact that a systemic change is needed and the current steps for protecting our daughters are inadequate. I have been battling metastatic breast cancer for over a decade. I know firsthand that we need to stop breast cancer before it starts and that's why I support Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s ultimate goal to eradicate this epidemic through prevention.
We all continue to be contaminated without our consent with persistent, bioaccumulative, endocrine disrupting, and carcinogenic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA), flame retardants, and formaldehyde. Demand is building for a world in which toxic chemicals are not found in our homes, workplaces, schools, playgrounds, and everyday products on sale at the corner store. We want a world where public health, ecosystem health, and the health of future generations are a priority. A focus on higher funding toward prevention would save countless women and their families from having to endure the hardship of a breast cancer diagnosis, painful treatment regimens, and expensive healthcare costs.
“We need to do better. And we need to do better now” says Executive Director Cheryl Osimo on the urgency we face regarding current breast cancer awareness initiatives. Over seventy percent of breast cancer cases are not associated with lifestyle factors or family history.
The failure to acknowledge prevention is to decide the fate of one in eight women destined to become a victim of breast cancer during her lifetime. Environmental injustices invade our neighborhoods, our bodies, and the well-being of our ecosystem. We look for a future where infants do not carry a burden of hazardous industrial chemicals passed along through their umbilical cord. We seek a future free from the ball and chain of diseases like breast cancer.
Please join inspiring women, men, and families from each corner of the bay state at the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s (MBCC) Against the Tide swim, kayak, walk, and/or run fundraiser in Hopkinton on June 21st and in Brewster on August 16th. Your participation strengthens the voice MBCC has in improving public policy and informing Massachusetts about preventative health; it is crucial to MBCC's research advocacy, community outreach, and educational projects such as the Research Updates Video Series and the Let’s Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposures medical campaign.
The women of Massachusetts shouldn’t have to accept any fate associated with a disease as devastating as breast cancer. Register for the 22nd annual Against the Tide event at DCR's Hopkinton State Park on Saturday, June 21. Please visit www.mbcc.org/swim or call 800-649-MBCC for more information and to register.
Margo Simon Golden
Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition