Part I of the post:
On the Tzfat (my home town) lists I posted the following. I wrote what I did because I know that a good percentage of the good religious women of Tzfat do not confront their lords and masters. They keep all their feelings in for the God All Mighty principle of Sh'lom Bayit (Peace in the Home). Community pressure enforces religious women to put on a face of being a happy wife and mother of darling, well-behaved children. She must look delighted to be utterly devoted to them. I remember one young boy saying to me of his almost blind Mother: "She's a real Eshet Chayil (a woman of valor, perhaps value in the minds of some too). She never rests, not for a moment. She's always doing something for us."
This is the result in far too many cases:
According to an article that appeared in the 19/10/07 edition of one of the Tzfat local papers, "Chadash B'Galil", there has been an 11% increase in the incidence of cancer in Tzfat.
We are in fifth place in incidents of cancer per capita in the nation. We are after Chaifa and Tel Aviv, and before Afula and Tiveria.
This is very odd considering the fact that Tzfat is located on a mountain and is legendary for its pristine pure air.
All of the other towns are far more industrialized than Tzfat. Tel Aviv is home to a great deal of manufacturing. Chaifa is home to some of the most dangerous chemical manufacturing possible as anyone who has gone near the port can attest.
Women are 6 times more likely than men to become ill with cancer.
What environmental factors would contribut to this?
I'd like to make a suggestion. When I was young I remember a number of women who became ill with cancer. They all had one thing in common - suppressed misery and rage. They were "good eggs" who lived only for their husbands and children. They sacrificed themselves entirely. For their efforts, they were not appreciated by their husband. Their children respected them a bit more, but still saw them as floor rags.
I believe, and there are oncologists who agree entirely with this, that there are emotional factors that play a part in carcinogenesis.
I think there are simply a great deal of women in Tzfat who are miserable with their lives and dare not express their feelings to themselves or to others.
The cancer allows them to opt out of the lives that they hate.
Certainly, this is not always the case. But is a known phenomenon and we should be considering it, in my opinion.