Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Positive thoughts needed for Cody's step-dad

Ironical enough, Cody just made a blog post lamenting the over-exposure of breast cancer research and how pink ribbons everywhere is desensitizing people to cancer research in general, making people more likely to say "no" right away to any donating to any cancer research at the check-out, etc., and that when it comes to gender-specific cancers (men do get breast-cancer, though rarely enough that this is often thought of as a woman's cancer), prostate cancer gets the short end of the stick, many stores running a week of prostate cancer fundraising before going back to breast cancer.

Well, yesterday his step-dad got the news that he has prostate cancer.

On the upside, he didn't wait forever to go get checked out. He's also fairly young (about 50), so, if he is indeed early-stage, the prognosis is very good.

On the downside, no one wants a diagnosis of anything major, be it a cancer or any disease.

We had all hoped he just had an infection, and were sure that's all it was. Ick.


  1. i LOVE the breast cancer stuff everywhere. My mom had it and it's a TERRIBLE disease to watch someone go through. She did chemo and radiation and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I'm even more charitable this year after finding a lump myself. I don't think it's desensitizing people. They have red ribbon stuff all the time, heart disease, juvenile diabetes, etc. I have a pink ribbon purse I'm so for it. lol.

  2. oh and I hope the outcome is good for Cody's dad, I'm sorry I didn't mention that previously!!!! I'll be praying for him and you guys!

  3. Dammit, I had a whole reply typed and lost it.

    Breast cancer fundraisers may not be as overexposed where you are, but here they are literally everywhere. Not once have I seen an fund-raising for anything else at all. But go to the grocery store and you'll have a plastic cover over the the debit machine promoting it, a prompt when you're paying, the clerk has to ask (or else you get money off on your purchase), many stores also have the clerks wearing pins, promotional posters in the aisle, hugs displays when you enter and exit, etc.. Pink is becoming part of the scenery, and what is part of the scenery becomes easy to ignore. Hats, mugs, candy bars, teddy bears, prescription bottle tops, you name it, it's on it here. Yet only once have I seen something about another disease - heart disease - and that was on a box of cereal that said that eating that cereal can help lower the chance of heart disease. This overexposure is resulting in people starting to ignore fundraising out of both annoyance and overexposure. People are being conditioned to say "No" the moment someone opens their mouth to ask about donating, no matter what the cause.

    And yet saying, "I am tired of always hearing about breast cancer everywhere I turn" is considered heartless and un-PC. Even if a disease is terrible, people can get sick and tired of hearing about it All...The...Time. Beating people over the heads with anything is going to ultimtely be counter-productive, whether it's breast cancer or March of Dimes or AIDS, yet saying so is seen as evil. (I fully expect to have at least a half the people reading this jump to the conclusion right now than I'm heartless for being tired of hearing about the same thing over and over and over and over and OVER again, because the societal expectation is that we should drop all our other cares for this one thing.)

    Heart disease, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer all kill far more people in a year. The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is only 5%, and to have that good of a shot requires having access to the best medical care money can buy (Steve Jobs is one such lucky person, and he has to fly all over the country to get the care he needs to stay alive). Breast cancer is not the most common cancer or killer disease out there, but it is the one receiving the vast majority of attention. For other cancers and diseases, the go-to treatment is usually a short round of chemo and then just removing the offending organ if possible, rather than trying to preserve it as there often isn't the money available to research how to preserve the part. Too bad not all parts can be removed.

    For pancreatic cancer, it's chemo for a while followed by hospice. Many people with this diagnosis opt not to go through chemo for something that is pretty much a sure-killer for the non-millionaires in this country. For prostate cancer, removing it and re-diverting some other parts in there is one of the most common procedures. For colitis, the top treatment usually is the path to surgery, and it's years and years of hell and a lifetime of daily management. Colitis receives VERY little funding, and so the research done is not on preserving the large intestine, but ways to help people live without it. I'm one of the lucky ones who doesn't have to go into a bag or avoid most of the foods out there while taking pills every day to keep my body running. Most people who get colitis lose their intestine and have an ostomy for life, can't eat most foods, and have to take supplements to stay alive, and some unlucky ones have to rely on tube-feeding. (Nope, I don't wish that every sign and fundraiser out there was for colitis because of what I said in paragraph 2 about beating people over the head with it.) And I did have to go through chemo when trying to fix part of my intestine. Chemo is for more than just cancer.

  4. Breast cancer, on the other hand, has such priority that, at least in California, insurance companies are required to pay for anything and everything it takes to reconstruct breasts to make it as hard to tell as possible that anything ever happened, no matter what. Got melanoma on your face that required removing a chunk of your cheek? Good luck getting insurance to cover the reconstructive necessary to live a semi-normal life without people staring at you like you're a freak show.

    Now no cancer/disease is a good one nor is any desirable, but the amount of focus on this one receives is disproportionate to its diagnosis rate and death rate compared to other cancers and diseases. I'd rather be diagnosed with breast cancer than lung cancer. You can't remove the lungs and be fine. You can remove them and have a transplant, if you're lucky, then deal with anti-rejection drugs that work only so-so. Same goes for many other cancers. You replace one problem with another that, while still awful, is slightly better and gives you a higher chance of living to see five years.

    You're lucky if you're in an area where you aren't absolutely bombarded with pink everywhere. Once upon a time, when it wasn't like this, I handed over money each time I was asked because it wasn't every single time I went through the checkout. It wasn't every single time I went to gas up the car that the pump prompted. It wasn't almost every time I went out to get a bite to eat that there's be a large jar. Now my knee-jerk reaction is "No." I can't afford to donate every time, more often than not I can't. So the majority-No's become instinctive No's, meaning less money than every is coming from me to any cause because I instinctively say No. And I'm not the only one I know who does this now.

    When we have money to donate, we don't give it to breast cancer research. They get more than anyone else, and if they don't get as much as people are led to think, all the fund-raising efforts all over annoy us. We look for a research that doesn't get the attention and so is more likely to be underfunded for the number of people who are diagnosed and die. Does a rare, uncommon cancer or disease mean a person should have to die because it's less heard of, as if that life matters less because it's not a breast that everyone loves? Sure seems that way. This is where our money goes now when once it would have been handed over to the clerk who asked when it wasn't every single clerk asking.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.