Monthly Archives: October 2015

Will you do that? Yes, anything for a cause!

imagesWhen the ice bucket challenge went viral, I rolled my eyes.  And you know by the title of this blog and by some of my earlier posts, I am not fond of the way that breast cancer is marketed either.

Some charities simply take things too far. Perhaps the most annoying is the Keep a Breast Foundation’s boobie campaign. Sigh. I hate to come down hard on these creative, well-meaning people who strive to educate and stop breast cancer in its tracks, but I have to say, I am appalled that this female body part is referenced by such an obnoxious term, and I am not the only one who feels this way.  In fact, a school district attempted to ban the I Love Boobies bracelet, and others have blogged about the offensive nature of this organization’s focus.

It is also important to note that the pink campaigns exclude men, and men get breast cancer too. This accentuates the fact that the boobie campaign targets women in a sexist manner by exploiting a feature with which the western world is clearly obsessed: women’s breasts.

This unnecessary focus inspired a porn business to take advantage of the trend by holding a boobie campaign of its own. The business sold sexy photos for breast cancer research, but when the pornographers tried to donate the money they raised, Susan G. Komen for the Cure refused to take it. Bravo!

Still, many people are on board with the idea that if it is for charity, anything goes, but I don’t like ice buckets and boobies shoved in my face. You may think it is not a big deal.  After all, if a marketing campaign is in support of a good cause, can that lead to harm? I think it can.

Not only is the focus offensive, it misses the point. The goal is optimal health and wellness, not to hang on to a body part at all costs. And breast self-exam –something these organizations are presumably promoting– has come into question as being more harmful than valuable. That feeling your breasts is a simple way to prevent cancer might send the wrong message. Nothing about cancer prevention is simple.  It is replete with controversy, choices, and research, and people ought to be more thoughtful about these things.

I do believe that the people behind the campaign are sincere, and I support charitable giving, but I think in a good society we can do better than to cater to the lowest common denominator. The campaigns might appeal to the JackAss fan, but is that truly the target audience? Not only do the boobie and tata campaigns not serve the organizations well, they are an affront to all women who have had mastectomies. These “genius” campaigns offend the very women the organizations claim they are trying to help.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where TMZ is mainstream, and it is okay to degrade and mock other people. In fact, it’s sport in America, and it makes money, but I think it takes a certain kind of moxie to do it when women’s lives are at stake. Yes, I believe a line was crossed here, and ignorance is no excuse.

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It’s that time of year…

eggsAgain, pink ribbons appear on my eggs, but now I am used to that in October. Just as pumpkins and disembodied heads decorate our front porches, pink ribbons make an appearance this time of year.

I can’t believe it is over a year since I posted. I had my mammogram last week, and going to an excellent facility really makes the process easier. When I arrived, I requested that my x-rays be read while I wait, since I have to travel to get to this better than average women’s center. They were more than happy to oblige, and I only had to wait five minutes while one of the three radiologists read them. So I left without the fear of a callback. Once you’ve had callback, you know that getting a routine screening leaves you a bit uneasy until you get the letter saying that everything is okay.

Also, I was asked if I wanted a 3D mammo and while I have not researched this extensively, I did read that it emits more radiation. The radiation in the standard mammogram troubles me, so I told the technician I will stick with the regular one.

I have not done any additional research on the value of mammography other than to discuss it with my doctor.  Although I have concerns about this path, I have not yet been  able to find a better solution to the problem of this screening. I just don’t want to take a chance and skip it when all the leading physicians and organizations are in agreement on this one thing. Does it cause unnecessary biopsies and does it fail to catch fast growing cancers? Yes, on both counts. But again, there is no perfect screening and right now, this is the only thing acceptable to my doctors so I will stick with it, but I am certainly open to other ideas.

One thing that might help is to go two years instead of one, according to new research. This way, there will be a reduced amount of radiation, but the routine stays in tact. I did wait 15 months–not 12–to get mine. I generally do push the limits for many screens, knowing that guidelines are probably more stringent than they need to be. That annual breast cancer screening is still the norm is suggested by the fact that the technician mentioned my tardiness and asked if I had trouble getting an appointment.  I just told her no. Anyway, I am glad that’s over and I will probably do it again in another 12 or 15 or 24 months.