The Mortal Morality: The Ethics Of Cancer
Even our very diets can be an unsuspected source of cancer. A high intake of fat and cholesterol, or insufficient consumption of Vitamins A or C can be major contributors to cancer occurrence. Eating processed foods low in natural fiber can lead to colon cancer. The aflatoxin fungus which very commonly contaminates peanuts stored in hot and humid conditions is a significant contributor to cancer. Introduction of steroids into the body can be cancerous.
Excessive exposure to simple sunlight is also linked to cancer. Sunburn can be conducive to melanoma, a dark pigmented skin cancer. Over-exposure to X-rays in medical examinations can also be a cause of cancer.
Industrial pollutants and chemicals are almost unmatched in their carcinogenic effects. Some of the most lethal are amines, benzene, vinyl chloride, isopropyl alcohol, alkylating agents and compounds of arsenic, nickel, chromium or cadmium. These chemicals are present in the majority of industrial and manufacturing workplaces and in many cases, the employers are not even aware of it. The inhalation of asbestos or urea formaldehyde, both common insulation materials used in millions of buildings, can cause cancer. Workers extensively exposed to the chemicals used in producing hardwood furniture or leather goods are known to develop cancer of the sinuses. But excessive exposure to virtually every single chemical used in industry has been tied to cancer.
Sexual factors also play a part in cancer. Excessively promiscuous people stand a far greater chance of getting skin and cervical cancer. Women who are childless or have only, had one child are likely to develop ovarian cancer, while having the first child later in life can lead to breast cancer.
People who suffer from depression, those who are under a great deal of stress in their personal or professional lives, and even those who have a tendency to feel excessive guilt, shame, or experience overwhelming emotion are subject to a much greater risk of cancer.
There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the causes of cancer. The ones that are the most obvious, such as smoking or exposure to chemicals seem to be at odds with others which purely reflect the personal lifestyle, such as sexual promiscuity or the state of mind of the individual.
Why should that be?
Many diseases do not act that way. For example, the common cold is caused by a virus. If you come into contact with it, and your personal immunity cannot successfully fight it, you get a cold. Many diseases are simply reactions to a bodily intruder, whether it be a virus, bacteria, fungus, poison or parasite. But cancer is a lifestyle disease. It strikes those which through their consumption, exposure or actions exhibit a certain set of characteristics.
It is almost as if cancer was exhibiting a form. of a morbid morality, choosing among mankind the ones which have violated some mysterious laws and targeting them for death.
But are those laws so mysterious, and is this phenomenon so inexplicable?
In order to discover that, we must analyze another, lifestyle disease which has been making headlines in the past couple of decades.