Thursday, July 28, 2011

Breast Cancer and The Blame Game (Followup)

At the time I wrote my posting Breast Cancer and The Blame Game, I had no idea that I would write a followup. But here it is.

What prompted this was a comment posted today by a cancer organization in reaction to my The Perils of Thinking Positively posting. Now I screen my comments, but this one deserved to be posted as evidence of the blame game in action. Here is the comment:

"Fruits are a pleasant way of keeping cancers at bay! The nature is kind enough to give us these fruits as a delicious tingle to our pallets and at the same time keep us immune to dreaded cancers."

To which I replied,

"You have to be kidding me, right?

I have eaten lots of fruit my entire life and still got cancer anyway. Maybe it was the pesticides on the fruit that led to my cancer.

Humanity was unkind enough to give us these chemicals as toxins to our bodies and at the same time make us vulnerable to cancer.

And, by the way, no one is immune to cancer."

I do appreciate that this comment -- albeit ignorant -- was a blanket statement about all cancers in general and not just breast cancer. However, I didn't appreciate the blame for my own cancer by my supposedly not eating fruit.

I am a professional writer and have published numerous academic and magazine articles, as well as an essay on my breast cancer experience in the anthology Voices of Breast Cancer by LaChance Publishing. I can be contacted at and


  1. I can't believe that post! Are they nuts or just ignorant? They totally missed your point, almost as if they were posting something generic and benign on a pink-colored platter. I love your response: right to the point. Did they ever respond back?

  2. Serendipity Beth! Last week I posted on twitter that I got really annoyed when I stumbled upon a website which said that broccoli not only prevented but cured cancer. The comment you mentioned actually made me laugh out loud at its quaint phrasing and naive claims. Thank goodness that amongst the misinformation that abounds on the internet, we have informed research like yours.

  3. Beth, thankfully you have spoken up about the dangers of pesticides and chemicals on the fruit we eat. Not mentioned in the comment to which you refer is the fact that we no longer eat only fruit grown in our region, and in season.
    In Australia, shoppers are buying cherries grown in the USA and apples from China. The supermarkets have a lot to answer for.
    I have eaten loads of fruit in my life time and now I am faced with a most unfavourable situation. Unfortunately...

  4. Thanks for the update, Beth. Sometimes such insensitive (or ignorant)comments really make a person wonder don't they? No one is immune from cancer, no mater how much fruit they do or do not eat.

  5. Jan,

    Yes, they are out of their minds. Nobody responded back. It really is amazing how many people are ignorant about the causes of cancer and want to blame the afflicted.

  6. Marie,

    Serendipity for sure. Broccoli cures cancer? Well, then wouldn't we all never get cancer if we just eat enough broccoli?

    So silly. Yeah there are those people out there who feel one can just control whether one gets cancer -- just by the specific fruits and veggies we eat.

  7. Chez,

    We have the same problem in the US. Produce is shipped from all over the world, and the pesticides are often abundant. We also buy foods out of season.

    It's really pretty problematic, as you know.

  8. Nancy,

    Thanks for commenting. Yes, it's really ignorant of them to think that certain fruits or vegetables can cure cancer. And I got kind of angry that the assumption was I didn't live a healthy lifestyle.

    That's what the blame game does. We shouldn't have to be put on the defense for getting cancer.