As I reflect on this monumental day, I realize that cancer prevention must be more than an idea, but rather real world action that saves lives and prevents the many types of suffering that come with both the disease and its treatment.
When the space program first started, the astronauts had no control over their capsules. This helpless feeling of being on a wild ride is precisely how I felt nearly eight years ago when I was told I had stage three breast cancer.
More than 1.6 million Americans will receive a cancer diagnosis this year and approximately 595,690 people will die from this devastating disease -- that's 1,632 moms and dads, sons and daughters, grandparents, siblings and friends every day.
Contrary to what we would expect responsible government to do, most of the more than 80,000 chemicals manufactured in the U.S. are unstudied and unregulated. Yet, nearly 800 chemicals are known or suspected of affecting human hormones.
The demands are great, and as a nation we must all be engaged in the process for less cancer. We can make new inroads on this disease so that the next generation will be looking forward to days of no cancer as opposed to more cancer.
If prevention were a national priority, how would our lives change? That question is followed by another one, which is: What will happen 10 years from now in terms of the health of Americans? Will the year 2025 find Americans stronger, healthier and living longer?
If we ever are going to break the cycle on increased incidence of cancer, leadership needs to look beyond the trenches of cancer treatment and expand their focus to prevent cancer cases from increasing.
If we truly are going to guard the next generation, we must engage communities to raise the bar on human health -- with a clear and specific focus on preventing cancer. If our children are going to have a healthier future, then cancer must not be an expected stage of life.
If cancer is preventable (meaning its prevalence can be reduced by making lifestyle and/or environment changes, excluding hereditary cancers), then how and why are we still struggling to reverse the increasing incidences of cancer?
Then I felt it... a weighty, wet, salty tear slip out of the corner of my eye. All I could think to do was not have him see me, so I quickly bent down so he would not see that I had started to cry. As I crouched down out of sight, I wondered how I could disappear
My appeal to one and all is that we make cancer prevention the No. 1 priority for ourselves, our communities and our nation. Cancer does not discriminate; it has no particular ideology or political party.
When the Bagbys arrived Monday morning to see a wall vandalized by graffiti, they were distraught. Then they took a moment and looked at the message: "4 Kenny-Cancer Can't Kill Me," and they knew there was more to this story. In their blog, the Bagbys wrote, "this was bigger than us."
If there's one key scientific finding over the past two decades that has the greatest potential to have a positive impact on cancer, it's that 50 percent or more of all cancer is preventable by things we can do.