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Cancer, Gender, and Environmental Justice Essay

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Paper type: Essay

Words: 1076, Paragraphs: 13, Pages: 5

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As of today, cancer is one of the utmost feared diseases in the world. In the early 1990s, approximately 6 million new cancer incidents propagated and more than 4 million mortalities arose from cancers. Cancer is a disease that is killing individuals all around the world. More than one-fifth of all fatalities were triggered by cancer and its been predicted, by the American Cancer Society, that about 33% of Americans will ultimately acquire this disease. The expertise of cancer analysis is titled Oncology. Cancer is the furthermost aggressive disease of a greater class recognized as neoplasms.

Neoplasms don’t quite conform to the portions of the cell that regulate the development and tasks of the cell. These cells ultimately become anomalous tumors and are acknowledged as non-typical tissue. These mannerisms are passed down as the cell replicates, thus spreading the cancer. The government has consumed billions of dollars on investigation for a cure of this deadly disease.

“It is estimated that one out of every two men and one of every three women will have cancer in their lifetimes.

About one in four persons will die of cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 570,000 cancer deaths occur each year in the United States. Cancer is the second leading cause of death after heart disease” (Pat Quinn). The government spends huge amounts of money on cancer exploration. They’re constantly finding remedies and enhanced techniques to treat and deal with cancer. As of today, research has progressed for the better and has helped countless individuals fight cancers. Although there is so much effort put into cancer research, it is still a feared disease, but is now treatable which grants numerous people faith in recovery.

Cancer and Gender

Cancer affects male and females in different ways. “In the United States, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both sexes, followed by prostate cancer in males and breast cancer in females. It is estimated that one out of every two men and one of every three women will have cancer in their lifetimes” (Pat Quinn). “Another gender issue in cancer is adipose tissue (fat)” (Tarter). “Some of the most dangerous carcinogens those that are most persistent in the environment and the most persistent in our bodies- are stored in fatty tissues which affects women in a different ways than men” (Tarter).

Also women are more prevalent in developing breast cancer, as men are more prevalent to developing colon cancer. “Between 1977 and 2006, the top five biggest disparities in age-adjusted cancer death rates were for the following types of cancer, according to the study; cancer of the lip: 5.51 men died for every one woman, cancer of the larynx: 5.37 men died for every one woman, cancer of the hypo pharynx: 4.47 men died for every one woman, cancer of the esophagus: 4.08 men died for every one woman, and cancer of the bladder: 3.36 men died for every one woman. All of those cancers are relatively rare. But men also die at much higher rates from the most common forms of cancers that affect both sexes” (Laura Blue). The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 570,000 cancer related deaths occur annually in the United States. Cancer is the second leading cause of death after heart disease.

Human Rights and Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice is the field of study that explains the connection between environmental exploitation and human exploitation. “The term environmental justice emerged as a concept in the United States in the early 1980s. The term has two distinct uses. The first and more common usage describes a social movement in the United States whose focus is on the fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens. Second, it is an interdisciplinary body of social science literature that includes (but is not limited to) theories of the environment, theories of justice, environmental law and governance, environmental policy and planning, development, sustainability, and political ecology” (Wikipedia). “Federal and state right-to-know laws, established in the past decade, have made available disturbing information about the extent to which our environment has been polluted by known carcinogens (and many others which are probable, suspected, or untested)” (Tarter).

“ Environmental justice writers and activists have consistently made links between environmental exploitation and human exploitation, attempting to reveal, criticize, and transform relationships between human social practices and environmental issues” (Tarter). Also another example to human rights and environmental justice is that the lower income class people tend to live in the urban areas where they are exposed to factories and carcinogens as opposed to the higher classes that live in the suburbs and aren’t exposed to any or very little of these toxins. Some people argue that environmental justice is also racial discrimination.

Facing Living Downstream

In this essay Tarter talks about how it is to live downstream. Living downstream means that whatever happened previously in your life can affect what happens later down the road. “There are individuals who claim, as a form of dismissal, that links between cancer and environmental contamination are unproven and improvable. There are others who believe that placing people in harm’s way is wrong whether the exact mechanism by which this harm is inflicted can be deciphered or not. At the very least, they argue, we are obliged to investigate, however imperfect our scientific tools; with the right to know comes the duty to inquire” (Tarter). “In contemporary American society there are many layers of silence wrapped around cancer, not only because the disease itself is frightening and we have trouble with issues of death and dying in our culture, but also because it is too frightening to contemplate the huge investment of money, power, and emotional capital in toxifying the environment and ourselves in the way we do now” (Tarter). The environmental contaminations role of causing cancer is on the rise.


When a family is forced to deal with a relative who has been diagnosed with cancer life gets difficult. Cancer affects many people all around the world. Throughout this essay by Jim Tarter I learned that cancer affects others on many different level. Cancer affects through gender, environment, race, and poverty. At the beginning of the essay I read Tarter gives us an insight on his life and how it was to be a cancer patient. He uses many perspectives on this topic through Rachel Carson and Sandra Steingraber’s work. This essay opened my eyes and I learned through reading from other’s experiences.

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Cancer, Gender, and Environmental Justice. (2017, Jan 19). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/cancer-gender-and-environmental-justice-essay

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