Breast Cancer Awareness

Last year at this time, women on facebook were posting colors for their status. Those of us out of the loop found out later that it was their bra color of that day. It was meant to raise breast cancer awareness. Somehow.

I guess I can see how it's drawing attention to the area. But most men don't really need to know what color bra a woman is wearing. It's the wrong kind of attention.

This year women are encouraged to post "I like it in the/on the __________," filling in the blank with where they leave their purse. So you get results like "I like it on the sofa," "I like it in the closet" and "I like it on the dining room table." Basically, it's like adding "in bed" at the end of your fortune cookie's pronouncement. Unintended, but de facto innuendo nonetheless. Neither the location of one's purse, nor an innuendo about it's location do anything to raise awareness of breast cancer.

If you want to raise awareness, let's state the facts (these come from Komen Foundation) :

From the 1940s until recently, the rate of new cases of breast cancer (called incidence) in the United States increased by a little over one percent a year. In the 1980s, the rate of new cases rose dramatically (likely due to increased screening), and during the 1990s the rate of new cases leveled off. From 1999 to 2006, there was a decline in the rate of new breast cancer cases. Although mammography screening rates fell somewhat over this same time period, recent studies show these changes were not likely related to the decline in breast cancer rates. The decline appears to be related to the drop in use of postmenopausal hormones that occurred after the Women's Health Initiative study showed that their use increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease. About 207,090 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States in 2010. In 1975 the incidence of breast cancer was 107 per 100,000 for white women and 94 per 100,000 for black women. Thirty years later in 2005, the number of new cases per year had risen to 126 per 100,000 for white women and 114 per 100,000 for black women.

In the past 35 years, mortality (the rate of death) for white women has decreased. In 1975, 32 per 100,000 white women (including Hispanic women) died of breast cancer, but by 2005, that figure had dropped to 23 per 100,000. For black women (including Hispanic), though, mortality increased somewhat over the same period, rising from 30 per 100,000 black women in 1975 to 33 per 100,000 in 2005.

Breast cancer in men is rare. However, an estimated 1,970 new cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2010. Overall incidence of breast cancer is 1.3 per 100,000 men, compared to 123 per 100,000 women.

Cancer as a whole is a terrible plague. We do need awareness of it--especially in the warning signs and prevention (diet plays a big part). Both of my parents have had cancer (prostate and thyroid). It's a scary thing to go through.

Instead of playing a game with cancer awareness, let's just encourage our loved ones to get the check-ups they need and to take preventative measures. But let's make the awareness about the cancer and not bras or purses. It'll do us all good.


Alaina Beth said...

I agree. This whole business bothered me last year and it bothers me this year. How is it helping anyone? Especially when people don't know what is going on. It is a strange, strange thing.

Amy said...

Speaking of encouraging loved ones...are you getting regular checkups??????

~Your loving sister~

Amy said...

Speaking of encouraging loved ones...are you getting regular checkups??????

~Your Loving Sister~