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Posted: 11.21.2002
Angels watching over me
My friend Lynn in Texas (who also celebrated a birthday recently, btw) just pointed me towards Hallmark's ornament collection for this year. They're selling a new one called Angel of Comfort. "Two dollars from the sale of this ornament will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to support breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatment programs." So if you didn't get a chance to donate to the cause, here's your chance. (And don't forget about the Breast Cancer Research stamps as well!)

Hey boy take a look at me...let me dirty up your mind...

I don't really understand the national obsession on breast cancer. Heart disease kills more women than breast cancer and prostate cancer has a higher death rate and almost as high numbers of occurrences. My grandmother is a breast cancer survivor and my stepfather is dying of prostate cancer. But one gets the limelight and one does not. I mean where is the national wide major PSA about getting tested for prostate cancer. Smoking and a high fat diet causing heart disease kills more women than breast cancer but you don't see the big fundraisers for that.

¤ ¤ credit: Jake | 11.21.02 at 03:12 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I'm not even sure this dignifies a response...

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 11.21.02 at 03:18 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I would hardly construe this effort a "national obsession." Hyperbole, much?

¤ ¤ credit: Sekimori | 11.21.02 at 03:21 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I think the day everyone starts playing the "my illness is more important than yours" game is the day we should fold as a society... And I say that having lost a grandfather to prostate cancer and no immediate relatives to breast cancer.

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 11.21.02 at 03:24 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

There is a financial investment in the mass media in the promotion of heart disease. Namely the advertisements fast food companies pay TV networks and newspapers. So while heart disease kills more women the media establishment is not as likely to speak out against it because if they did they would possibly loose millions of McDonald's ad dollars. So breast cancer gets more media coverage because no one gets rich of the promotion of the illness.

¤ ¤ credit: Jake | 11.21.02 at 03:43 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

And yet I'm still failing to see your point...

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 11.21.02 at 03:47 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

The easy answer is: Hey, breasts are MUCH more exciting to talk about than prostates. Besides that there is no real easy answer. This year almost 40,000 women will die from breast cancer, the breast is the leading cancer site for women and only lung cancer kills more women. Breast cancer is THE leading killer of all cancers in women 40-59 years old.

My wife is a breast cancer survivor, of course sometimes the effects of weekly chemotherapy, frequent trips to the hospital and numerous MRI and CT scans leave her not so fond of "surviving".

If the nation is obsessed with breast cancer that is great, but it hasn't cured my wife or helped us pay the medical bills. Perhaps it is best not to pout about the obession with breast cancer and what cancer kills more and just support the good causes that are out there to combat cancer period.

The day that breast cancer is gone and there is no longer an obession with it I will gladly hand over the limelight to whatever cancer would like to have it. Until that day we will just carry on like we have for the last four years, one day, one chemo at a time.

¤ ¤ credit: JE | 11.21.02 at 03:48 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Jake, you're apparently not paying much attention to the media. Because they DO advertise the fact that heart disease kills more women than breast cancer. They also publicize the fact that MEN can get breast cancer. Now. If you pay attention to the fact that YOU can get it, maybe you'll care about it a little more.

¤ ¤ credit: Tracy | 11.21.02 at 03:57 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Yes it is statistically possible for men to get breast cancer but I don't have much breast and my chances of heart disease and prostate cancer is much higher than my risks of other kinds. Prostate cancer is not talked in the mass media about because it is still taboo like breast cancer was back in the early 60s and because of that it has a lower early diagnosis rate. My grandmother got diagnosed with breast cancer early and she had a masctomy and is doing fine. My stepdad's prostate cancer was not stopped by surgery and he is screwed there is nothing they can do for him. I still think the media fights heart disease with kid gloves because of a vested financial interest in the corporations (Smoking and Junk Food) that profit from the illnesses promotion. and that is all I have to say about it.

¤ ¤ credit: Jake | 11.21.02 at 04:07 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Maybe people -- right or wrong -- are just more sympathetic to a cancer someone literally has no control over, than an illness like heart disease which in many instances can be prevented with the right diet and exercise over the years (something many Americans purposely do not do).

But again, it goes back to the "my illness is more important than your illness" game which I have a very big problem with. You don't see a huge Lyme Disease Congressional lobby either -- but in no way do I begrudge MS or Parkinsonís patients from having theirs.

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 11.21.02 at 04:12 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

The thing is that we don't know exactly what causes some cancers such as exactly what life style habits and chemicals cause it. But then again it is a slippery slope to blame those who suffer from an illness on having the illness as their fault.

¤ ¤ credit: Jake | 11.21.02 at 04:31 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Why does there have to be any blame in any of it Jake? This was a post about a pretty little ornament that helps out a good cause.

¤ ¤ credit: Tracy | 11.21.02 at 04:51 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I was going to put a cute response in here, but you're all being so serious. Oh well, here goes :)

Have we forgiven Hallmark over that 9/11 fiasco? I actually vowed never to buy one of their products again after they printed THOSE cards....

Jake, you're picking the wrong group of people here to have the "other things are more important than breast cancer" discussion with. Both Robyn & I (and several more of her readers) have had our lives affected dramatically by disease which firstly no-one believes, secondly is almost impossible to diagnose and thirdly, even more difficult to treat, but we still think Breast Cancer is important (along with other diseases).

In Australia, heart disease gets plenty of mention. Prostate gets some mention, but men don't seem to actively go and get theirs checked, while women do self exams for breasts and get pap smears on a very regular basis. Hands up all the men who voluntarily go to their GP to get checked for prostate cancer or ANYTHING for that matter??

Each person has to decide which causes they will follow. You can't follow them all. We are supporting breast cancer because we have breasts and know people who have died from it, and also people who have been treated for it and survived thanks to research. Don't begrudge us that.

¤ ¤ credit: Jessica Parker | 11.21.02 at 05:20 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I wasn't saying it wasn't important I was wondering why it gets the most media coverage and trite little trinkets made when it is not the biggest killer of women in this country. I am 24 and am not at risk for prostate cancer until I am 35 but I am also watching a parent die from it. I have there has been three types of cancer in my family as well as heart disease in my family but breast cancer still gets top billing for media attention when it is not the number one killer by a long shot.

¤ ¤ credit: Jake | 11.21.02 at 06:16 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Gez...If I thought this was going to cause so much controversary I never would have told Robyn. Perhaps next time when I see something interesting & I tell you about it Robyn, we will keep it between us. People in my life have been affected by several different types of illnesses, from prostate cancer, to lyme disease, chronic fatigue, lung cancer, heart disease, lymphoma, to even breast cancer. Because of this I have made a point to try & raise awarness & money for several causes that are important to me. What have you done Jake about causes that are important to you (besides of course try and make a Hallmark ornament something other then a nice thing)?

A very good friend of mine who is only 26 and married just 5 months was just diagnosed with breast cancer. So when I saw this ornament I bought it, when I go to the Post Office I spend an extra $.08 on stamps to buy the Breast Cancer Awareness Stamps. I told a few people about the ornament. That does not mean I still do not care about other illnesses & diseases. What it does mean is there is another way I can try & help bring about an end to Breast Cancer.

If you think other illnesses out there deserve more attention, then do something about it. Start a campaign, hell join a campaign already in progress. Don't just sit there and complain that something is getting more attention then something that is important to you. Do something about it.

Robyn is right, playing the "my illness is more important than yours" is stupid & gets us no where as a society. It wont help any of the causes any of us care about.

¤ ¤ credit: Lynn in TX | 11.21.02 at 06:36 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Besides knowing women who've had breast cancer, my mom had her sixth cancer operation last July and is still in a rehabilitation hospital weaning off the ventilator because half of her diaphram was paralyzed during the surgery. It's not breast cancer but a different, rarer kind but I believe that supporting breast cancer research also leads to treatments and identifications for MANY types of cancer. I'm just glad people care enough to give their time and money to any cause like this (and I really don't think the heart or lung associations are being left behind at all). Awareness changes all the time, look how much press there was about colon cancer recently because Katie Couric rallied the attention. Every cause needs a flag bearer and maybe prostate cancer doesn't have one yet but it will someday, sooner if more men start going to the doctor regularly to get diagnosed before it's too late to help them. It's not like they don't know it exists but no amount of extra advertising will get the guys I know in for a regular checkup.

¤ ¤ credit: Lauri | 11.21.02 at 06:58 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

The statistic you don't see is how many women "survive" breast cancer. What makes it a "national obsession" is not how many people die from it, it's how many people are affected by it. My aunt is a breast cancer "survivor". 22 years ago she lost both breasts. She finally gave up wearing the prosthetics about 5 years ago. Unfortunately, breasts, no matter how big or small, are what define women most. Not just sexually, but in motherhood as well. Currently, the most common "cure" for breast cancer is removal of the breast. When a woman loses her breast she faces a whole boatload of problems including her own family looking at her differently. Luckily for my aunt, my uncle's love for her goes deep enough to see past missing breasts and allowed him to stay true through years of depression and sorrow.

Let me put it in a perspective you can see clearer. How big do you think the "national obsession" would be if penis cancer was as common as breast cancer and the only "cure" was to cut off 4 inches? How much would you care then? I suspect your favorite conspiracy theory then would be that the media isn't giving it enough attention.

¤ ¤ credit: a different Bill | 11.22.02 at 09:37 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Bill my step-father is dying of uncurable untreatable rapidly spreading prostate cancer. Don't assume that I haven't experianced cancer close to me. Oh and my grandmother is a brease cancer "survivor"

¤ ¤ credit: Jake | 11.22.02 at 08:20 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Then I am very, very confused. With a background like that, I don't understand how you can question any attention focused on these diseases. I don't care if it's stories in the mainstream news, ribbon of the week, commercials during the NASCAR race (yeah, I might be a redneck), or some people talking about it on a website (like us), I appreciate any and all attention given to these diseases. Attention translates into $$$ and money is always the first thing needed to find a cure.

I apologize for assuming anything about you, but you seriously came off as someone who didn't/doesn't appreciate the benefits derived from the attention given. You came into a forum, where people had done a lot of work to get some attention and raise money for a good cause, and questioned if the cause they chose was worthy of "all" the attention. I know you didn't say it wasn't worthy of "any" or "a lot" of attention, but you did offer theories as to why it gets as much attention as it does. You stepped on a lot of toes by doing that. You made some feel like thay had to justify why they were doing something nice. You should never have to justify being nice.

Personally, I don't care if they are raising money to help people with hangnails. There are people out there suffering from hangnails and if they want to help ease a little suffering, then I applaud them.

¤ ¤ credit: a different Bill | 11.23.02 at 09:56 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Bill, I love you man.

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 11.23.02 at 08:59 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Jake, I DID lose my grandmother to breast cancer. She went through the hell of chemo and radiation and was "well" for about 6 years - that is if you call well being doped up 24/7 and basically turning into a different person. Then the cancer came back with a vengeance. She went through the chemo and radiation again with no response to the treatments. It was so painful to watch a healthy, loving, vital woman waste away to a bed-ridden, gasping wraith. Reading your comments only brings back the pain I felt at being able to do nothing but watch.

¤ ¤ credit: BillH | 02.20.03 at 11:52 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Jake your lies are sickening!!! I don't buy not one fucking word you say and you need to hit the muthafuckin road dude!! You have serious issues and the day you start throwing up shit about stuff you absolutely have no clue about especially cancer then I will not hesitate to bust a cap in your ass!!! I AM a cancer survivor!! I am a woman who was 28 with a cancer so take your statistics and shove em babee. People like you who only live to talk shit make me sick and I pray I never run into you in person cause you will surely see the she devil.

Robyn you've known me long enough girl and you know I can only take so much of jerks like this especially on subjects close to me and you know when i get on these rants you are so more than welcome to delete me :)

I love ya

¤ ¤ credit: gnome-girl | 02.21.03 at 11:31 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

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