3/10/2007

Celebrating Womanhood Against the Odds

This month is International Women’s month. TV shows and magazines hail the great achievements of women. TV commercial of a certain beauty product expresses to celebrate womanhood. Women organizations, on the other hand, reported the abuse and violence against women – seeking for justice, launching worthy causes that will help them.

Sure, there are many reasons to celebrate womanhood as much as there are many reasons to denounce it. I should be writing an article that salutes women. I should be writing about women’s enormous achievements. Or, I should be exposing the abuse and violence against women.

Nevertheless, I am writing about an epidemic that scares most women. The breast cancer. It’s a disease women fear most. The fact is one in nine women will develop a breast cancer in her lifetime. I’m sure nobody is at ease talking about this disease. But every woman has to face it. It is now becoming common to most women, young and old, gay and straight, poor and well-to-do, black and white, married and unmarried, widow and lesbian. This disease strikes all kinds of women, and most often get their life. Most women who get it have no risk factor. The major risk factor is simply being a woman – for having breast. The causes are not clear.

Recently, I received a forwarded e-mail message about the true story of a woman who suffered from breast cancer. This woman is a health conscious. According to her, she fortified her body with the best and healthier foods she could find. She consumed soya-based foods such as tofu, milk, soya muffins, soybean sprouts, etc. In 1998, she discovered a lump in her breast. She went through surgery. Later she suffered from thyroid troubles. She began to search for the cause of her problems and found out soya that she consumed for nearly 10 years as the culprit.

Few months ago, I got the courage to reveal to a male friend the lump in my left breast. I discovered it some years ago. It is not permanent though. Sometimes, it is there. Sometimes, it disappears. Sometimes, I feel some twinge especially when I am tired. But I don’t think that this is cancer. My friend advised me to have a check up, but I didn’t until now. I have never been seriously sick a day in my life. I associate sickness with weakness and therefore deny being sick.

However, since I discovered that lump, that come and go, I tried to eat healthy foods. I also consumed soya-based ready-to-drink milk and taho that I bought from the soya products stores that sprout in food courts. I love to eat in a certain vegetarian restaurant that mixes tofu in their vegetables.

Going back to woman’s story on soya, I cannot believe that it is the origin of her health troubles. I also believe that soya is a healthy food. It has a high protein content, and is rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers.

I came to think of another issue. The Genetically Modification of plants where we get our foods. Greenpeace – an environment organization – demands to keep our foods Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) free. It is claimed that Genetically Modified (GM) foods are hazardous to human. I did some research and found out that soya, rice, potato and corn are among the top genetically modified crops.

Genetic Modification is a scientific process that changes the very nature of a plant. Genes from human, bacteria, viruses, plants and animals are inserted into the plants. This is to make a certain plant contain insect-repelling gene and to improve agricultural yield. The genes and DNA are altered in the plant. Amazing, amazing with no proven safe or harmless effects to human.

“GM foods tested to animals gave unfavorable results. “ It is said that animals fed with GMO corn developed problems on their blood, blood pressure, kidney and liver, allergies to infection, lesions and even cancers. What if the animal where we get the meat we eat is fed with GMO foods such as corn? We are at risk.

We can find soya in many processed foods. I saw a natural coffee with soya in a supermarket. Even soy sauce contains soybean extracts. There are lots of infant foods with soya. What if this soya is genetically modified? We are eating the foods that may cause cancers. We are feeding our infants with foods that may give them cancer later in their life.

Cancers are present a long time by the time we find them. I learned that the average cancer has a doubling time of 100 days. It takes one cancer cell to double and become two. You need 100 billion of cancer cells to have one centimeter of cancer. Most cancers are present from eight to ten years by the time you can feel the smallest of lump. The tumor gets a blood supply, however, at around year three. This means that cancer cells are already in the blood stream before we detect the tumor.

Greenpeace reported that "GM rice contaminated some Philippine supermarkets. The said variety of rice was field tested in the U.S. and not commercially grown. There is a fear that at some point, it will be difficult to find any corn, soya and rice that is not genetically modified. Cross pollinations will allow field tested GMO plants to create another crop naturally. So our entire food line is at risk." Are we going to eat the very cause of our death? Our creators created the plants in a system that it can nourish human. Science altered that system risking our lives. Science created these mutant foods. Are we going to have a generation of mutants, a generation of modern Frankenstein?

Well, for now, I only want to celebrate womanhood. Life is short. I feel my left breast. The lump was not there. I am more on vegetables now though I am not sure if these are GMO free. How should I know? I take natural food supplements. I eat raw garlic.

The good news is breast cancer is not a medical emergency. We can have more time to choose our medication. We can have more time to prepare ourselves and our families. We can have more time to change our lifestyles. We can have more time to win over this disease. We can have more years to celebrate womanhood.

Happy women’s month!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Everybody's at risk to get ill... we're surrounded by different pollutants... anything fresh is very expensive and oftentimes unavailable.


Being more conscious of your eating habits is a good start towards attaining a good health... but that's not all that you have to consider. Recognizing and accepting what you actually suffer from time to time must be acknowledged... sometimes it's much better to seek for professional advice rather than to self-medicate... that is, if one thinks of maximizing one's stay in this world.


Stay happy and healthy.

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