Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Unless I don't. 

But given all the cancer-causing substances I (and you) am surrounded by, I don't hold much hope.  It's gonna happen.  Because of all the substances, not because of our increased life expectancy, and the fact that eventually cells get old and tired and no longer work right.  It's the cancer-causing stuff in this world. 

I made the mistake of reading the news.  If you don't know by now, me reading the news (and ESPECIALLY the comments), usually ends in me being perturbed about something.  Today it's cancer causing substances.  Let me list some of my favorites for you.

Caramel coloring:  This is the story from today.  Caramel color additives to cola's (dark sodas) WILL cause cancer.  They proved it in mice.  They injected mice with artificial caramel coloring and the mice got cancer.  I'm particularly concerned because I'd only have to consume 10,000 bottles of cola a day for 30 years to cause cancer.  So it's likely.  And as the Center for Science in the Public Interest says, we should take no risks.  Any caramel coloring is too much.  And so you know what you have to avoid, it can also be found in dark beer and Worcestershire sauce.

Deodorant:  The aluminum contained in some (dare I say, most) deodorants may be linked with an increased risk of breast cancer.  The Europeans must have known a long time ago.  So ditch the deodorant and stay cancer free.  It's the way to be.
Mouthwash:  The alcohol contained in mouthwash may be linked to oral cancers.  If you're going to increase your risk with alcohol, it might as well be in the form of gin and tonic.  Cavities may be stinky and painful, but they don't cause cancer!

Cell Phones:  Between the radiation being directly sent to your brain, and the overactivity of brain cells near the ear, you (and the rest of the world) are gonna get a brain tumor.  Probably two.  So hang up your cell phones in the name of health, people!  With all the concern over things causing cancer, I KNOW you'll stop using your cell phones.  And all that texting... Finger cancer.  Yes, it can happen.  It can happen to you.

BPA:  I used to drink out of plastic bottles and refill them.  It was good for the environment.  Now, I only drink out of organic lemon grass paper cups, because everything else has BPA.  Lots and lots of BPA.  I feel healthier already.  Except I drink less water.  Organic lemon grass paper cups are small.  Can dehydration cause cancer?

And then there is the complete list of things that cause cancer.  From the internet, which I trust explicitly.  For your, my beloved readers, safety, I will give you the whole list.  Because it's for your own good.  I'd be concerned about you getting freaked out about even leaving your house, but this is 2011 people!  We're SUPPOSED to be scared to leave our houses!  Because there is a high likelihood that in 7.6 months, a study will prove that air below 3000 ft above sea level causes cancer.  Watch our Denver, the people are a'comming.  Here's the complete list.  I've highlighted my favs.

Acetaldehyde, acrylamide, acrylonitril, abortion, agent orange, alar, alcohol, air pollution, aldrin, alfatoxin, arsenic, arsine, asbestos, asphalt fumes, atrazine, AZT, baby food, barbequed meat, benzene, benzidine, benzopyrene, beryllium, beta-carotene, betel nuts, birth control pills, bottled water, bracken, bread, breasts, brooms, bus stations, calcium channel blockers, cadmium, candles, captan, carbon black, carbon tetrachloride, careers for women, casual sex, car fumes, celery, charred foods, cooked foods, chewing gum, Chinese food, Chinese herbal supplements, chips, chloramphenicol, chlordane, chlorinated camphene, chlorinated water, chlorodiphenyl, chloroform, cholesterol, low cholesterol, chromium, coal tar, coffee, coke ovens, crackers, creosote, cyclamates, dairy products, deodorants, depleted uranium, depression, dichloryacetylene, DDT, dieldrin, diesel exhaust, diet soda, dimethyl sulphate, dinitrotouluene, dioxin, dioxane, epichlorhydrin, ethyle acrilate, ethylene, ethilene dibromide, ethnic beliefs,ethylene dichloride, Ex-Lax, fat, fluoridation, flying, formaldehyde, free radicals, french fries, fruit, gasoline, genes, gingerbread, global warming, gluteraldehyde, granite, grilled meat, Gulf war, hair dyes, hamburgers, heliobacter pylori, hepatitis B virus, hexachlorbutadiene, hexachlorethane, high bone mass, hot tea, HPMA, HRT, hydrazine, hydrogen peroxide, incense, infertility, jewellery, Kepone, kissing, lack of exercise, laxatives, lead, left handedness, Lindane, Listerine, low fibre diet, magnetic fields, malonaldehyde, mammograms, manganese, marijuana, methyl bromide, methylene chloride, menopause, microwave ovens, milk hormones, mixed spices, mobile phones, MTBE, nickel, night lighting, night shifts, nitrates, not breast feeding, not having a twin, nuclear power plants, Nutrasweet, obesity, oestrogen, olestra, olive oil, orange juice, oxygenated gasoline, oyster sauce, ozone, ozone depletion, passive smoking, PCBs, peanuts, pesticides, pet birds, plastic IV bags, polio vaccine, potato crisps (chips), power lines, proteins, Prozac, PVC, radio masts, radon, railway sleepers, red meat, Roundup, saccharin, salt, sausage, selenium, semiconductor plants, shellfish, sick buildings, soy sauce, stress, strontium, styrene, sulphuric acid, sun beds, sunlight, sunscreen, talc, tetrachloroethylene, testosterone, tight bras, toast, toasters, tobacco, tooth fillings, toothpaste (with fluoride or bleach), train stations, trichloroethylene, under-arm shaving, unvented stoves, uranium, UV radiation, Vatican radio masts, vegetables, vinyl bromide, vinyl chloride, vinyl fluoride, vinyl toys, vitamins, vitreous fibres, wallpaper, weedkiller (2-4 D), welding fumes, well water, weight gain, winter, wood dust, work, x-rays.

Phew.  That's a lot.  I'm gonna get cancer.  Unless I don't.  Which is also possible.  Since this is simply ridiculous.

The point:  Cancer is a scary, challenging, variable, unpredictable, painful disease.  Lots of people have endured or succumbed to it.  It's real.  And each type comes with it's own causes, challenges, treatments, and prognosis.  There is no cure for "cancer".  Each type can be treated in it's own way.  We should stop pretending that caramel coloring causes cancer, and start supporting the people who get cancer. 

In my opinion, at least...


About Me

I am a Family Medicine intern at a community hospital in Indiana, navigating the new world of being a physician. I am privileged to work in a field I love, where every day is a new and unpredictable challenge.
I am not only a doctor, but also a cyclist, runner, DIYer in the making, lover of the outdoors, traveler, and human.
Human, MD is a glimpse into the world of a young doctor who is just trying to stay true to herself through the grueling whirlwind of residency.


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