The risks of cancer are not exaggerated!

January 11th, 2004

To the Editor,

It is reasonable for scientists to resent public demands for formulas which will prevent cancer. The underfunded scientific community is up against well heeled industry who often provides their grants. Most of the time, industry is busy producing thousands of chemicals which are not tested for carcinogenic properties prior to marketing.

It is also reasonable to expect prevention studies to address precursor inflammation processes and cellular mutations which are a by-product of constant exposures to inhaled, ingested and dermally applied irritants and poisons. Our systems were intended to allow us to age gracefully, not be co-opted by industry to enrich their bottom lines. We know chemicals like benzene are carcinogenic but are denied full disclosure in product labelling so we might choose to avoid purchasing cleaning products, personal care items or pesticides containing those derivatives.

As for Dr. Berry, who stated, “The person in the street greatly exaggerates their risk of cancer.” , I refer him to local incidence rates for breast cancer as high as one in nine women. Add to that the risks for developing other forms of cancer and you have a portrait of odds which are far from negligible for women. But perhaps we will have to wait for a greater than 10% incidence in testicular cancer before problems are responsibly addressed.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: NY Times

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