Fiona Duff: Far too many fighting scourge of breast cancer

A COUPLE of weeks ago, on the very same day, I found out that two friends had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The following day I had lunch with another friend to celebrate the end of her radiotherapy. I cannot be the only person who thinks that these malignant tumours are more like some sort of virus or plague than a random act of God or dodgy genes.

Monday, 30th May 2016, 11:11 am
Updated Monday, 30th May 2016, 12:23 pm
Breast Cancer screening. Picture: supplied

At present there are around 50,000 women each year who are diagnosed with this disease. That is quite astronomical and whilst millions of pounds are raised each year to help combat cancer as well as research into the causes, there must be something, staring us in the face that is responsible.

I look back on my childhood and think of my mother’s friends. None of them ever appeared to be particularly ill; I can only think of one that died young and that was because she took her own life rather than it being taken from her.

So what is so very different these days? It is often suggested that delaying pregnancy and childbirth is detrimental and the average age for first time mothers does rise each year. They say that alcohol is a factor but watch one episode of Mad Men and I am not sure that, despite government alarm, that we really drink that much more than in the 60s.

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One friend claimed that it was all down to pollution – indeed the air is not as clear and clean as it was, there are millions more cars on the roads as well as factories in every corner of the world. There are companies with no scruples or morals on how they deal with waste. Even a couple of decades after Erin Brokovitch, there will be some people on the wrong side of poverty whose health is seen as of lesser importance than the pursuit of profit. And they and their children will suffer as a result.

My theory is that the hormones pumped into dairy cows must have some effect – oestrogen based cancers are definitely increasing. If virtually every gulp of milk or wedge of cheese is supplying one with an extra helping of this hormone then it must tip the scales for some folk.

If I had any scientific cell in my body this is what I would be researching.

I’d like to think that by the time my daughters are my age that they are no longer helping friends choose a wig to wear during chemotherapy or sending cards of sympathy. I live in hope that someone, somewhere, finds out why breast cancer seems to be like an epidemic right now.

In the meantime, for those who I know currently undergoing treatment there is one little grain of comfort. It is here, in Scotland’s capital city,

that the treatment of breast cancer is seen to be the very best in Britain. There is a unit at the Western General Hospital dedicated to helping women kick this bitch and in many more

cases than not it succeeds. It houses doctors and nurses who do nothing but care for and strive to cure afflicted women. And for that we must be very grateful.

BGT makes Simon Cowell even richer

I haven’t watched one episode of Britain’s Got Talent, which seemed to take up the entire ITV schedule last week. I occasionally would dip in and out if there was nothing else to stare at of an evening.

However, ever since friends of mine went to an audition stage last year, I have realised what a farce it was. Many of these people have been performing for years and indeed that is all they do – no bar work or dog walking duties required to ease the bank balance here.

The producers of BGT had been chasing them for years to perform and finally they relented. It didn’t go well (Simon took agin them because he is an idiot), and the clip didn’t even get shown.

Last year’s winner of America’s Got Talent, British ventriloquist Paul Zerdin, inset, was asked by a friend why he was entering, “Well, I’ve been on the Royal Variety Show before” was the answer. Yes, I am sure that there is the occasional young star that has been unspotted that turns up, but on the whole the producers know who they want to win and they will do their darndest to ensure that this happens.

Asking us, sitting at home, to dial those numbers does nothing but fill the pockets of Simon Cowell’s high waisted jeans

My appearance at wedding might be briefs

So on Friday it’s my first wedding of the year. Not that I am getting married if you get my drift – it’s my niece who shall be pledging her troth in front of friends and family. For a while now I have been trying to find what to wear. I need to keep to a budget so I bought a dress off ebay. Lovely dress to be honest but when it arrived I realised that whoever makes the clothes at LK Bennett has a very different idea of what size 14 is to their counterpart at Marks & Spencer. So that’s back on the auction site and I am still wandering around in my underwear.

What I have realised is that it doesn’t really matter what I wear as I doubt anyone will notice. All eyes will be on the beautiful girl in the ivory dress. Unless I turn up still only wearing my pants and steal her thunder.

Driven mad by never-ending roadworks hell

For goodness’ sake – what is going on in Edinburgh these days? Virtually every street I turn down seems to have roadworks with men digging up tarmac and lanes cordoned off to traffic and pedestrians. Could someone please explain all this to me?

What is extra annoying is that there doesn’t seem to be anyone co-ordinating it all. I am sure a three-year-old with a big tub of Lego could make a better job of ensuring that a city centre runs smoothly and looks as lovely as a war zone.