Writing for the 21st Century
TOPIC: Cancer Rates in Port Washington
Cancer is a word that nobody ever wants to hear. The "c" word has connotations of death and painful, lingering terminal disease. Despite science’s progress in identifying cancerous cells, genetic factors that contribute to the disease, and even its ability to find treatments (i.e., chemotherapy, diet, etc.) that may placate the disease, thus extending he patient’s life, cancer is still a disease that affects and kills vast numbers of people today.
Port Washington seems to have a very high rate of breast cancer and brain tumors, and no suitable explanation has been given to explain the concentrated levels of cancer that appear in our town. There has also been some talk that certain areas of Port Washington reveal higher incidences of cancer. It seems that more attention needs to be given to the causes. Is it the water? The landfill? Electromagnetic waves? Shouldn’t we be concerned about these rates? How do we compare to other places worldwide?
Overview: I propose to 1) study the incidence of various cancers nationwide and compare those figures to the number of cancer cases in Port Washington, as well as identify if certain types of cancer are more prevalent in our region, 2) analyze the research of these cancers in relation to causes such as contaminated water, landfill gases, and electromagnetic waves, and 3) use this information to call our society to take a more aggressive attack on making people aware of these facts and 4) call politicians into action for further study and clean-up or preventive measures should it deem itself necessary after my research.
I chose this topic because I know many people who have had breast cancer (my mother, my aunt [deceased], a neighbor, and the mother of a friend [deceased]) and brain tumors (two friends—one as a teen [now deceased] and one ten years later), and it scares me to think that the causes were controllable or preventable by the town of Port Washington.
This topic is important because it may raise awareness for future prevention not only in Port Washington, but also other communities suffering from high cancer rates. Although my research may only be a beginning, it is a necessary step in recognizing if environmental factors have an impact on cancer rates. If not, perhaps there are genetic coincidences that may be vital in understanding genetics and cancer.
My evidence lies in the large number of people I know in Port Washington (either direct relations/friends or once and twice removed) who have had cancer or known someone who has. I also remember reading may years ago that Port may have higher electromagnetic waves (which to some people is related to causing cancer). Others have pointed to the long term effects if the landfill/sandpits areas as being possibly laden with carcinogens. My friend that had a large brain tumor as a teen used to play in the "pits" daily as a child and teen.
My audience should care about this topic. Cancer affects every human being, whether because they may succumb to its deadly causes or because they lose someone close to them. The importance of this topic can not be negated. The possibility that this project may enlighten and change a serious problem makes it a worthy cause.
Some of the basic I have already include:
I am not sure what answers I will find, but I expect to find a large incidence of cancer in Port. I expect to also find many different opinions on the causes, and I believe that I will also find that people have not made any major strides in pinpointing the problem.
This semester, I intend to compile data about cancer rates in the region, and I would like to compare those to the rest of Long Island.
I want to make people aware of the cancers they may be subject to simply by living in a particular area. I would also like to force scientists, politicians, and neighborhood groups to examine this public safety issue. By conducting research and contacting the appropriate sources, I intend to make a difference for the overall health of my community.
I will need to contact the Department of Health for the primary statistics. I may also have to contact area hospitals to see if they will help me gain statistics. Besides that, the obvious research will need to be completed (Internet, library, etc.), though I know I will have to focus my research in the medical and science journals, as well as environmental reports.
I think I can make a difference by doing the research many only speculate about. If I find no significant relevance between the cancer rates and areas as being any worse than other areas, then I will be able to inform the public that all is safe. If, on the other hand, I find that there is a correlation (genetic or environment) I will be making people aware of their odds so that they can be more vigilant in preventative methods.