Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Politics of Cancer Risks

Nicholas Kristof has a great editorial column in today's NYT where he examines the politics of cancer.

He points out that debates about screening (and I would add genetics) dominate mainstream media accounts of cancer. What is left out of this discussion is the role of synthetic chemicals in increasing cancer risks. Here are a couple of excerpts from his column:

"What if breast cancer in the United States has less to do with insurance or mammograms and more to do with contaminants in our water or air -- or in certain plastic containers in our kitchens? What if the surge in asthma and childhood leukemia reflect, in part, the poisons we impose upon ourselves?...

"Dr. Philip Landrigan, the chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai, said that the risk that a 50-year-old white woman will develop breast cancer has soared to 12 percent today, from 1 percent in 1975. (Some of that is probably a result of better detection.)"....

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