Mary A. Maynard  © 2016  All Rights Reserved
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Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.

​My heart speaks loudly to me whenever I am asked to buy a neon pink plastic travel cup, wear a something-colored ribbon, participate in a race/walk/swim or do some catchy activity that has gone viral with people challenging each other on You Tube.

My heart says a straightforward, firm “No.” No long speeches or reasons, just “No.”. 
On the social level, I am left to find a graceful way to tell a passionate young woman working for Susan G. Komen why I will not wear pink. Or explain to the kid down the street my position on not sponsoring him for the “Walk” to support his Mom.  

How can I argue with my eldest daughter why I won’t sign the petition to light up the White House to bring awareness to childhood cancers? Particularly brain cancer. I admit here that following my heart’s refusal is devastating at times. I fight and cry as I delete the invitation to endorse and “like” my granddaughter’s Facebook request. The Facebook request for her personal “fight for survivors of brain cancer.” Do I love my daughter and my granddaughter? Absolutely. Will I do anything within my power to lessen the burden of the brain cancer my eldest granddaughter bears? Absolutely. My heart said that wasn’t the way. Don’t do it. So, I prayed, “What do I do?”

I researched, quizzed experts and sorted through mountains of information for six years. What I found were the money pathways. In summary, the gross national product for health care went from a 1995 3% to a predicted 26% in 2030 due to the increase in cancer diagnosis and treatment. If you add the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance corporations that are partners in this spiral, it nears 40 % of the United States income.  
Let’s be clear about one thing: awareness and treatment are not prevention.
We are being distracted with a frenzy of awareness and hugely expensive treatment, while prevention is ignored. It is not a mistake that we are being distracted with awareness, while prevention is ignored. It is not a mistake. That is a terrifying realization few people are willing to admit.

Does research create cures? Everywhere you look, in print, on TV, on the Internet and even at the cosmetic counters of department stores, mammogram advocates are pushing the procedure as if it were the ultimate cure for cancer. It is not. While early detection may, in some instances save lives, screening mammograms do not prevent cancer. In the mid-1980s, by the time a woman found a lump, the tumor was advanced. Annual mammography came into wide acceptance around that time as a way to find a tumor before it could be felt. The idea was that finding it early meant that treatments such as surgery, radiation, and chemo could reduce the breast cancer death rate. By this measure, mammograms have had success. Mammograms can be called the 1980’s prevention of advanced tumors.  

The phenomena of disease awareness, rather than prevention, started with a purpose of eliminating stigma within the AIDS epidemic. Beginning with the red AIDS ribbon and moving throughout the color spectrum, diseases raced to choose their ribbon color. The purpose of reducing stigma was lost. We started confusing making money for research with eliminating stigma. It became a competition for resources to treat disease. Each group hoped for a cure. Here is the misplaced belief cycle: (1) awareness of a disease will stake a claim in the short attention span of the public with the intention of increasing donations. (2) donations will pay for research. (3) Research will create a cure.  
It is a never ending fast track of Olympic proportions to gather money. No one wins the medal. Research has not created cures for cancer. Treatment, yes. Treatment is good because it serves the money machine. More expensive, long-term treatment is even better. Awareness serves treatment only. Not cure.

What I ask is: how many more survivors do we need to make women wake up and demand a new meaning for early detection? Instead of running and marching and walking to raise money for a Cure, we should scream for earlier prevention and detection. Researchers stopped looking for the Cause a long time ago because we're demanding the Cure. Does anyone see the problem with this? Women who are diagnosed are so terrorized by the options presented they are not in a position to recognize outcomes and causes. Do women who are running, jumping and selling items realize they are simply raising money for the drug companies? Companies which measure their existence on the presence of cancer-not the elimination. These companies are completely aware that with the right tools and protocols, cancer can be prevented. It is an identical process we experienced with the tobacco companies regarding complicity and awareness that smoking caused cancer. As long as the health care corporations, pharma, and insurance company are seen as “the good guys” in a fight against cancer, no changes will be made. The financial circle of death will continue. Monsanto Corporation creating cancer producing weed killers and Monsanto Corporation creating chemotherapy to treat the cancer. There is nothing in it for Monsanto to “cure” cancer.  
The billboard campaign for widespread mammogram use attacks women’s esteem. In an attempt to shame you into compliance they call for you to “Woman Up” and get a mammogram. “Woman Up?” Yes. I’m starting right now by eliminating any pink plastic product that is a symbol of solidarity in the “fight” against breast cancer. The plastic itself and the dye used to color it are the same toxins proven to pollute and create cancer through soil and water contamination. Mammograms are not an acceptable level of prevention in 2017. Huge advances have been made in technology such as infrared breast imaging (IRBI). * IRBI shows areas of concern years in advance of a mammographic finding. This is the point at which a person can make dietary and lifestyle changes, use lymph drainage exercises, evidence-based vitamins and nutraceuticals to heal the abnormality. Improvements can be followed by non-invasive, non-painful, non-radiating imaging. If the area of heat (possible infection) and inflammation goes away, the risk of progression, by definition, goes away. Isn’t this what we, as individuals are all really working toward?  

It’s not just women. It’s not just breasts. Prostate cancer has become a very profitable field. Some guidance on that is worthy to note here. Considerations before or during treatment every man diagnosed with prostate cancer should explore. If you are already in the stream of treatment right after diagnosis:
learn about potential side effects of treatment. Some are equally devastating to your overall quality of life. Take your time to consider options. Let the emotional triggers settle before you decide on a course of care. Get a second opinion from a Pathologist, and/or Oncologist, who is an expert in prostate cancer.
Research which programs are well-established with data to support quality outcomes of a probability or chance of a zero PSA 15 years after treatment. If you are using western medicine the zero PSA is your goal. Decide on treatment based on which doctor can give you the best chance of having a zero PSA. Don’t settle. Explore locations that offer Thermogram for men. Be pushy. It’s your life.
I still shrink to speak out on these things when asked in person. Not out of fear, but out of honor and compassion. Honor to the experience of the people diagnosed with cancer who are following the best guidance they can afford. Out of compassion for members of my family left without partners due to cancer. Out of respect for members still struggling to manage completely disabling consequences of two years of radiation treatment.  
I do not challenge or criticize any of the beliefs that keep people from the edge of despair. We grab what we can and I am grateful that many have come through surgery, chemo and radiation feeling Blessed. Own it. Love it. I only want to share what I’ve learned while respecting those tender feelings, passions, and beliefs of others who are touched by this. I only want to share what I have learned in hopes that those not yet diagnosed and those who survive may awaken to other options. Prevention.

Throw away your ribbon and join me in fighting the true enemy. 

Eliminate the causes of cancer: environmental pollutants creating genetic changes. Demand state-of-the-art infrared breast imaging with every breast exam and every mammogram. Insist that insurance companies cover thermography as readily as they cover mammograms. Vote for and against anything that threatens your water, your air, your planet. Talk to your neighbor ( kindly ) about the weed killer sprayed all over their lawn coming in your windows. Too afraid? Tuck a flyer of info in the screen door. Awareness. 

My heart knows that the fight isn’t against cancer. The fight is against a culture of money, deceit and social control methods that keep women using outdated techniques that further them from the very health and prevention promised. Women create and birth change on this planet. We are the moving voice of our culture. I’m going to “Woman Up” and start speaking what my heart knows.  

* The use of Infrared thermal imaging to detect heat patterns in the human body is a technology created for military use. The medical applications are extensive in that areas of increased heat indicate inflammation / infection and decreased heat can be medically significant, as well. This radiation in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum images is called Thermograms. Since infrared radiation is emitted by all objects above absolute zero, thermography makes it possible to see one's environment with or without visible illumination. The amount of radiation emitted by an object increases with temperature; therefore, thermography allows one to see variations in temperature. When viewed through a thermal imaging camera, warm objects stand out well against cooler backgrounds. www.picture my health thermography (IRT) is a good resource for anyone interested in Thermograms for breast health or total body imaging.

An Ounce or Prevention
by Mary Maynard, RN, BSN
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