Make the Pink Mean Something – by Nicki Kenyon

Make the Pink Mean Something – by Nicki Kenyon

It’s that time of year again. Secret messages permeate Facebook as women mysteriously make their male friends guess the color of their underwear. The endless sea of pink… pink ribbons, pink towels to wipe the sweat from football players’ faces, pink sneakers, limited edition pink mugs, “Save the Ta-Tas,” go bra-less… it just goes on and on.

At the same time, a slew of enraged cancer survivors will use blogs, articles in women’s magazines, and social media to angrily call on women to stop their lurid worship of the pink and do something truly worthy to help combat breast cancer!

I admit I was one of those angry women a couple of years ago. (http://thelibertyzone.com/2013/10/27/breast-cancer-awareness/) I impugned women for falling for the garish, pink gimmicks. I scolded them for reducing women to nothing but a pair of “ta-tas” instead of focusing on all forms of cancer and doing something substantive to eradicate this plague from existence.

When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago, I was terrified. I did not know how to deal with the news. I always thought of cancer as a death sentence. I never thought this could happen to me and my family. I refused to acknowledge the illness, because cancer was something that happened to other people – to other people’s parents – not to my 60-year-old mom.

I refused to believe it even when I held her hand as she was being wheeled into surgery.

I refused to believe it even when I watched her sleep, all bandaged up after the doctors took her breast and her lymph nodes.

I even refused to believe it even when she underwent chemo and lost all her hair.

I couldn’t look at her like that – all frail, small, pale, and nauseous. I was scared to be in the same room with her. For the longest time, I refused to visit my parents at their home, because I could not look at her.

And so when I saw the tacky games, the bright pink accents at football games, and the merchandise, I was angry, because I thought they lacked the gravitas that beating cancer required. I didn’t think they understood the tragedy, the importance, the horror of cancer. They, with their stupid, perky breasts – breasts that were carved out of my mother – prancing around as if there was no suffering human being behind those “ta-tas,” and making a mockery out of what is so tragic for so many!

And I hated them.

There’s a part of me that still resents them, but now – two years later – I am trying to understand them a little more.

It’s got to be tough to watch friends, loved ones, and complete strangers get carved up like Thanksgiving turkeys, leaving both physical and emotional scars. It’s got to be agonizing to look at oneself in the mirror and see a whole, healthy body, while your mom/sister/aunt/best friend struggles to hold down food, hides under a wig, and isolates herself in her house in fear of contracting an infection.

So you wear pink, and you run around without a bra, and you buy the special edition merchandise, hoping that despite the fact that only a tiny percentage of that special edition pink junk will actually go toward research to fight cancer, maybe that one penny from their one pink mug will be the one that will make the difference in finding a cure.

I do understand the desire to do something. Anytime tragedy strikes, decent human beings give in to the urge to do something – anything. I suppose it’s selfish in a way – because it’s really about making ourselves feel better, about assuaging our own feelings of guilt for being healthy, while our loved ones suffer. But it’s in our nature to want to fix, to help, and to care.

And sometimes, we forget those for whom we do it.

And sometimes we neglect to acknowledge that other forms of cancer kill as well. Yes, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but there’s also prostate cancer, pancreatic and lung cancers, leukemia, malignant brain tumors, adrenal, esophageal… so much evil! So much to fight!

So go ahead and wear that pink, but don’t let that be the only thing you do.

Get vaccinated. There are vaccines out there that are very effective in preventing infections with HPV types 16 and 18, two high-risk HPVs that cause about 70 percent of cervical and anal cancers. Don’t listen to the conspiritards who squeal that it’s a Big Pharma plot to make money off you. Protect yourselves. Protect your kids.

Get tested to be a bone marrow donor. When I was in college, I volunteered to be tested, because a young man needed a donor, and a likely match would be an Eastern European Jew. I did not turn out to be a match, but I still did it. It would have made a huge difference in his life had I been a match for him!

Volunteer at a hospital. Play with the little kids, who have spent their young lives fighting this horror. Bring some joy into their lives. Sing to them. Read to them. Or visit with an older cancer patient. Make them feel wanted, human, loved, and appreciated. Show them their lives do matter, and motivate them to fight like hell against this malevolence.

Make that pink mean something more than just a cheap trinket, and I will try not to get angry when I see silly underwear games on Facebook.

133 responses to “Make the Pink Mean Something – by Nicki Kenyon

  1. From my memory, breast cancer does on, on average, deserve some degree of prioritization. Even though cancers can show up in practically any tissue, breast cancer tends to show up younger and more often than most other cancers…and cancer isn’t as bad when it shows up late enough to compete with other diseases of old age. (Part of the reason that prostate cancer tests aren’t too helpful is that men tend to.doe of other stuff before the prostate cancer becomes important.)

    And, if you’re Jewish with a first degree relative with breast cancer, testing for the BRCA gene may make sense. Lifetime breast cancer risk will be in the 50-80% range…

    On the subject of volunteering at hospitals…how the $%& do you do it? My wife tried. The staff referred her to a number and told her to call between 8:30 and 9 am on the first Monday of the month. Then, eventually, she got through, to be told there were no openings for volunteers…

  2. c4c

  3. Nicki,

    My wife is about to undergo your mother’s journey. She found a lump in her right breast on September 1st and it turned out to be a 3 cm tumor. Further testing confirmed it had invaded the first lymph node in her armpit. She does not have the BRAC gene and will undergo surgery next Wednesday followed by chemo and radiation treatment, the reconstructive surgery probably next summer. ON the good side, the team at Cancer Treatment center of America in Zion IL says her type is common and very, very treatable and she stands a high probability of being able to hang around and keep me on the straight and narrow for years to come.

    Her last mammogram in May 2014 showed nothing, but the doctors looking at it told her it was a screening one, not a diagnostic one, which does not find small tumors in large dense breasts (Damn the government/insurance companies for cheaping out). In their opinion, it was there last May and probably in the one she had in June 2013.

    Neither of us does the “pink” thing, and never will, though #2 (of 4) son does have a surprise for her waiting on the 26th. I thought the whole pink campaign has been way overblown, especially when Prostate cancer kills more than breast cancer does.

  4. I can totally relate to the denial; I was somewhere above the second cataracts of the Nile at least until my dad died of cancer.

  5. It’s conspicuous compassion, a way to show others how philanthropic you are. Companies do it because it’s a cheap way to get some free publicity and it keeps them from losing customers to competitors who play along. (As an aside, I deeply despise the whole “X cents of every purchase will go to Cause Y, up to Z dollars” thing. Either donate Z dollars outright, or take the hit to profits and donate X cents of every purchase. The Z/X+1th consumer isn’t actually donating any money to the cause, even though he thinks he is. It’s false advertising.) It really isn’t any different from driving a Prius or mouthing Prog platitudes. It’s much more effective to donate the money you would spend on pink crap to hospitals or actual charities.

    • I especially detest the NFL on this subject. They have gotten so bad I hardly watch games any more.

      • A few years ago, the NFL was making just about everything pink, which aside from the obnoxiousness of the “conspicuous virtue” issues, also had the problem that it interfered with the game. The refs’ penalty flags, the coaches’ challenge flags, and the players’ towels were all pink, so after pretty much every play, there was some pink laundry on the field, and it took about five minutes to sort out what it actually was.

    • Yep. Virtue signaling.

      My particular peeve is the people who call it “raising awareness”.

      It’s funny how no one ever wants to raise awareness of diseases that most people actually haven’t heard of.

    • I agree. I change my habits to avoid the pink promotions on any product. If you want to donate, then donate. Full stop. If you want to advertise your virtue, just don’t; instead go out and do something good for someone. Let not your right hand know and all that. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve just realized that when I see the pink, I actually think worse of that person/product/company.

      I watched my mother die from pancreatic cancer that had spread all over before it was detected. Literally; I was at her bedside when she stopped breathing. No surgery or chemo could have gotten it all out; enough radiation to get it all would have killed her outright. I’ve never seen a ribbon or a t-shirt for pancreatic cancer; a pancreas is not a sexy organ. Eff the pink.

      • This is how I feel too.

      • CTCA has a board outside the imaging waiting room that has a little ribbon for all the types of cancer they treat. I think pancreatic was a black ribbon.

      • I don’t particularly resent the pink ribbon culture.

        I am presently in the journey with a different cancer. As part of my self care I have been encouraged to do extensive walking. I walk in a group of three parks where many others also walk. Generally when we pass we will nod, maybe exchange a polite greeting , and occasionally comment on the weather.

        I saw a woman in a pink ribbon shirt that promoted a fundraising walk for the cure. I asked the person who was wearing it about it. They are a cancer patient, now seven years clean. This was encouraging to hear. I would never have known but for the shirt.

      • My sisters were contacted by a medical group studying pancreatic cancer because our mother and one of her sisters died of it. It is, or at least used to be, the cancer with the lowest 5-year survival rate.

        I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to hurt anyone as much as the doctor who diagnosed her cancer – he’d been telling my mother for months that the fatigue and other symptoms she’d been reporting were “female problems,” as in, “it’s all in your head.” That ended the day she went in with jaundice, at which point it was inoperable. The person at the photo processing plant who used the wrong chemicals on the roll of film with my last photos of her comes close, though.

        • You really need to be aggressive defending your health these days. My wife had some suspicious looking cells in her breasts – the male gynecologist wanted to “keep an eye on things”. She went to a female surgeon who said “lets get rid of that”. She had a lumpectomy and is doing fine a decade later. The only case where watchful waiting may be appropriate is prostate cancer, the slow variety.

      • That’s what killed my great-aunt.

        Her first doctor said, basically, there’s nothing we can do, you will die about then.

        She went for a second opinion and got surgery and treatments and stuff — and died on schedule, nonetheless.

      • I’m with you, Birthday Girl. Ten years ago, my sister slowly died of throat cancer. No, she never smoked, although I wouldn’t wish this death on anyone.She couldn’t even speak for the last 3 months, due to surgery that didn’t save her. Two weeks after she passed away, just short of her 49th bithday, her husband died of a heart attack. Four years later, her fragile late-20s daughter committed suicide, and eventually most of our once-close family parted ways. All due to throat cancer. Miniscule research is done for it and I don’t see any parades. The burgundy ribbon is shared with at least once other disease. Keep the pink parade away from me.

    • A few years ago, someone at the Wall Street Journal coined the phrase “conspicuous virtue” for those who go around flashing their pink mugs to show they care about Breast Cancer, their red cell phones to show they care about AIDS, their hybrid cars to show they care about the environment, etc. It nicely crystallized the issue I’d always had with these things but could never figure out how to put into words.

      • “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men”

        • Every time some Leftard jackass wants to tell me that Christ wants more government giveaways, I ask them for the citation of Jesus saying anything else other than charity as a private and personal matter.

      • We’ve always just called them “Virtue Creeps”.

  6. This is on a completely different topic from breast cancer, but I thought it would be interesting to the Huns and Hoydens. I’ve been reading Tolstoy recently, and found a very interesting passage in Anna Karenina. In this passage, a nobleman named Konstantin Dmitrich Levin, one of the main characters (and the one who’s basically Tolstoy’s authorial self-insert) has been having serious problems with his farm. His hired workers (who come from the muzhik, or peasant, social class) never do things the way he wants them done, and his farm is less productive than it should be. And he thinks that if he could just get workers who do what he wants, he’d be able to get the farm running much better. Than he gets into a discussion with a muzhik who owns his own farm and runs it with his family and some hired workers:

    “And for us landowners things go badly with our hired men,” said Levin, handing him a glass of tea.

    “Thank you,” the old man replied, took the glass, but refused sugar, pointing to the nibbled lump he had left. “Where are you going to get with hired men?” he said. “It’s sheer ruin. Take the Sviyazhskys [another farming family from the noble class] even. We know their land – black as poppyseed, but they can’t boast of their crops either. There’s always some oversight!”

    “But you do your farming with hired men?”

    “That’s between muzhiks. We can make do on our own. Bad work – out you go! We’ll manage.”

    What Tolstoy is implying here is that Levin and Sviyazhsky are unable to fire their hired men – because the muzhiks had been serfs just 10-15 years prior (Anna Karenina was published in installments between 1873 and 1877, and the Russian Emancipation Reform of 1861 was what freed the serfs and turned them into muzhiks, who were essentially sharecroppers). And since the muzhiks had (in most cases) recent family connections to the land – “my father was born in this house, and his father before him,” that kind of thing – it was pretty much impossible for Levin to fire any of them. It would have been legal, but so frowned upon by society – “Look at that heartless nobleman, turning old Nikolai out of his family home like that!” – that he basically couldn’t do it.

    So what Tolstoy is pointing out here is that the employer who has the freedom to fire his employees at will ends up getting good employees, while the employer who can’t fire anybody ends up getting poor employees.

    When I read that passage, I realized one of the reasons why Tolstoy was (and is) such a great author: because he really understood human nature, and the natural consequences of human nature (even the economic ones), and put those into his work.

  7. I tend to be on the angry side because I saw what the organization who is connected to the pink does to other organizations who are helping other diseases — as in they sue them for using the phrase “for the cure.”

    I have had a tumor– which turned out to be benign. I am now in the discovery phase again it seems. I spend a lot of my time and money on my own health. I don’t play the games, wear the pink, or even do the guessing games. I just don’t understand it. The only good thing I see about all this is that this type of cancer has finally come out of a dark place and into the light. Now if we can do that for other cancers and other diseases like mine– or even for people who are in chronic pain, I would be much happier.

    Don’t give your money away to these big companies– and yes that non-profit acts like a company. Give it to a face– a person who needs your help. A lot of our people will have spaghetti dinners and charge by the plate to pay for chemo or travel to a clinic that can treat them. I find that is an action that helps more than giving a lot of money to a admin-heavy group.

    • This year’s charity for the Anime con I work is to promote and support bone marrow donor-ship. The opportunity to be tested will be included.

    • Cyn,

      I was totally shocked when CTCA told us they pay for patient travel. Mileage for drivers, or they will buy you a plane or train ticket. This is a private for-profit organization. The staff is the most helpful I have ever seen, and even the most sickly patients I saw there were smiling.

    • Yeah, the big non-profit conglomerates remind me of trade unions. They’re all talk about helping and solidarity and working to make life better; but when you drill into it, they’re mostly about big salaries and privileges for their top officers. Some of them don’t even pretend to do any kind of work; they’re just money transfer services.

      Avoid those pretenders. Keep it local so the money can actually do some good in real life.

      • There’s a philosophy that says that these sorts of organizations need to shut down after 7 years. No matter how noble the cause that they started with, after 7 years, their main purpose will be to perpetuate their own existence.

  8. For those who don’t know the official ribbon color for ‘all cancers’ is lavender.

  9. Just in the last year, a singer in my choir donated marrow and saved someone’s life when she turned out to be a match, and our Deacon received a bone marrow transplant which, after much trepidation, saved his life. So, yeah – get tested. I need to look into that – I hadn’t known anyone personally who went through either procedure, and now I know TWO. Cool.

  10. There is a mild historical reason to mention breast cancer specifically. [Puts on Pedant Hat] The word “cancer” comes from the the Greek word for “crab”. Hippocrates observed that visible tumors (basically end-stage, rarely seen in modern times) looked like crabs from the raised veins and tissues–and the primary example of this was breast cancer. Most of the other deadly cancers are internal and not visible.

    But other than that, #AllCancersMatter. Destroy them all, even unto the seventh generation; let their name be as ash. And dear Ghu, no more pink. I beg of you.

  11. Back in 2009 at my “annual” physical, you know the one you get around to every couple three years, the doctor detected a roughness. A needle biopsy confirmed cancer of the prostate. Got a second opinion, researched my options, then went in and had them jerk the damned thing out. The surgeon used the DaVinci laproscopic surgical robot to go in through a number of small incisions and do the deed. Had a nice pattern of small scars circling my navel for a while, but they’ve all faded. Still have some detectable scar tissue in my belly, and a certain amount of nerve damage. What I no longer have six years later is cancer.
    Reason I share this is to say, get tested! If you’re in a high risk group get tested more often. Worst case you find out how long you have left, which is more than most folks know. Best case they cure your cancer. Knowledge is power, and not knowing is just plain dumb.

    • Testicular Cancer.

      Guys 15-35 years in age – please grab your balls once a month and check for bumps. Heck, do it now. I’ll wait.

      No, that pimple on your scrotum isn’t cancer. You’re looking for bumps on the ball itself.

      If you’re 15, this makes a great excuse if your mom catches you with your hand down your pants – “No, mom, I’m just doing my monthly self-exam! You wouldn’t want me to get testicular cancer and die, would you?”

      Around my thirtieth birthday, I noticed a bump smaller than a pea, and then forgot about it. A few months later, I noticed a bump the size of a grape. Long story short – if I’d gone to a physician the first time, I could have saved myself the second surgery and the chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is no fun.

      • And consider taking a selenium supplement, particularly if you live in the Pacific Northwest or the Southeast. About 20 years ago, my doctor suggested I start taking it because of some research he’d read.

        I looked up the research – a team had done a 10-year project to determine the effects of selenium on cancer prevention, and had selected skin cancer, because once you’ve had it, you have a 10% chance each year of it recurring.

        About 8 years in, they started crunching the preliminary numbers, and found that selenium had absolutely no effect on skin cancer. It was associated, however, with a roughly 50% reduction in most other cancers, including about a 73% reduction in the incidence of prostate cancer.

        It turns out that there is enough selenium in the soil that eating local produce probably gives you enough, unless you live in the previously-mentioned corners of the country and don’t eat produce from other places. A 200 microgram per day supplement gives you what you need, in any case.

  12. Why are overwhelmingly male-dominated recreational activities inundated with shallow, ineffectual promotional gimmicks to raise awareness for women’s health issues about which everyone is already aware?

    In this modern age of targeted advertising, this strikes me as an extraordinary waste of resources and – judging by some of the comments here and elsewhere – results in alienating significant numbers of otherwise sympathetic people. A position I happen to share.

    • Why? Marketing, activism, and political correctness.

      Some years ago, NOW and other feminist organizations were excoriating society for how little money was being spent on women’s diseases, particularly breast cancer. The inference you were meant to draw was that everything else was being spent on diseases specific to men. The numbers at the time showed, however, that about 3/4 of medical research money was spent on general diseases, with 15 percent being spent on female-specific ailments, and 7 percent going to male-specific ones.

      Consider also how much money has been spent on HIV and AIDs, and what percentage of the population it affects, and compare it with the money spent on various other diseases and how many people they affect.

      • scott2harrison

        HIV and AIDS research priority was sold with the con job that it was going to affect the general population real soon now. It is kept up because admitting that AIDS is pretty much a gay male and IV drug abuser disease is career suicide.

    • Because it isn’t about raising awareness for cancer. At all.

      It’s about getting middle-aged women to watch football games.

      They’ve already got such a market penetration among men that they figure the only growth opportunity is to get co-ed audiences.

      • Polliwog the 'Ette

        I used to watch football a lot. The combination of the strike, the revelation of the Penn State Pederast (we were in State College when that was going on and had no idea), and the loss of my viewing buddy with John’s death are the reasons I quit. All the pink in the world won’t get me watching again, I just feel sorry for all the guys forced to wear pink.

    • Annoying men is a feature for some people. It’s like some women haven’t grown out of the preteen boys are icky stage.

  13. Polliwog the 'Ette

    I roll my eyes at all the pink stuff, but what really a annoys me is the FaceBook “like and share if you hate cancer”. It may be just that I hate being told what to do but, having lost two grandparents and a young husband to all different cancers, it really grates. On the positive side, my remaining grandfather is the longest lived of the original batch of chemo test patients. At 92 he’s slowing down a lot, but he’s doubled the age he was when he agreed to give the treatment a try since even extensive surgery hadn’t been able to remove all the prostate cancer.

    • Wow. My condolences on the rest, but I am glad for your surviving grandfather. 92 is worth celebrating even without having had cancer half one’s life ago, and I’m glad he decided to take the chance on chemo.

      • Polliwog the 'Ette

        Amazingly, even with all the side effects from chemo he will end up being the longest lived male in his family. That chemo also meant that he has lived long enough for he and my father to reconcile and my sister and I to get a chance to actually know him and grandma. I Don know what the outcomes were for the rest of the test subjects, but it has changed a whole family’s life for the better in our case.

  14. Last time I looked (about 10 years ago) you had to be younger than 40 to donate. 😦

    • Ah. So, never mind. 12 to 13 years past that. (Not quite 13 yet.)

      • Dunno–I just got my “are you still there?” letter from the bone marrow people, and I’m definitely over 40. There may not be a universal rule.

    • Birthday Girl

      Things are changing all the time, including the actual donation process, which nowadays is often a process very similar to plasma donation, not necessarily the traditional general anesthesia thing. I’ve been on the marrow donor list since I was a 20-something. Now I”m north of 50 – just got called last year as a potential donor, though it didn’t go through.

    • I’m on the bone marrow list- and didn’t get on until after I was 40. Got looked at once, but there was a better match. As for blood, I’m well over 10 gallons lifetime. The nearest big city donation center used to have pictures on the wall recognizing 10, 15, and 20 gal lifetime donors. They’ve been removed. At the 10 gallon level the pictures were overwhelmingly white and male. At the 15 and above exclusively so. Don’t know why the pictures were removed, but I have noticed the blood donor recruiting posters look nothing like the pictures on the wall did.

      • 10 gallons; whoa. You lapped me a couple of laps ago. I haven’t cracked the five gallon mark yet. (A unit is a pint, +/-, right?)

      • I think my last pin was for 8 gallons. It’s been a few years since I’ve donated – recurring colds and other parts of real life have interfered a fair amount. I need to get back into it.

        I do recall that my local blood center (Bonfils) has a long-standing campaign to increase donations by minorities, and particularly to get them to sign up as marrow donors, because matching blood is much simpler than matching marrow.

  15. Affluence and abundance are the twin sins of America, (and other first world citizens). I could probably feed a small village on the money I spend on my two dog’s ‘treats’.
    But we already have been that route. ‘Live Aid’ generated lots of food to be delivered to starving Africans, only to see the food used as a tool by corrupt dictators. ‘The United Way’ seems like a good idea until you see the massive office complex built on prime commercial property for their ‘administrators’ of your money. All non-profits should be required to tell you the percentage of your dollar that goes to the ‘needy’ and the percentage used for administrative costs.
    March of Dimes started as a group to cure polio. They succeeded. They switched to fighting ‘birth defects’, because that is a goal that their administrators can milk for eternity. The two Mothers that started MADD, greatly succeeded in raising awareness of drunk drivers. Announcing you are the ‘designated driver’ is a socially acceptable reason to be at a party of drunks where you are drinking soda. MADD’s current ‘zero tolerance’ to alcohol is a product of the organizational overhead and the ‘president’ of MADD wanting to keep her salary.
    The frightening part is government bureaucracy. Of course the ‘health department’ is going to suggest saving money on mammograms for young women. That way, they can continue to have a ‘health crisis’ that has to be ‘managed’. They don’t care about young women with breast cancer, they care about their paycheck.
    It is easy to see how we got here. What we need is to figure out how to change to a system that makes sense. “Pink Month” is a symptom of this disease of affluence. The first two years probably raised awareness, now most people simply ignore it all.

    • A lot of the “eeeeevil kkkorporashuns” drivel is based on projection. In fact , nominal “nonprofit” dogs (academia, can you hear me?) engage in most or perhaps all of the maladaptive behaviors generally associated with” greedy businessmen”.

      • Go to conferences. You can tell the difference between govt or academic projects by their conclusions. Govt or academia say we need to study more. Corps say here’s how we plan to use it or have used it

    • I absolutely REFUSE to donate to UW, and have done so for my entire professional career. Sometimes I’m the only one in the office not to contribute and great pressure is put on me to give so the bosses can brag to their buddies they had 100% participation.

      At my current employer, I explained to my boss 8 years ago, why I did not give to UW. I give directly to the charities I support and bypass UW. All they do is take a cut of all contributions, so it is much less efficient to go their route.

      They have not bothered me since.

      • Birthday Girl

        I did the same thing back in my paying-work days. The owner of my employer was a locally big poobah for UW.

      • I was the pariah in a couple of my Navy units because there was a big emphasis on 100% participation. I stopped because I found out that my earmarking of my donation for specific charities actually meant nothing. The big charities contracted with UW for specific amounts, and were allocated contributions proportionally until those amounts were reached. If more than that was donated, then was when earmarks came into play, again proportionally.

      • UW gets something like a $10 processing fee from me every year: I participate in their campaign at work so I can get my donations off the top from my paycheck: Mission Aviation Fellowship (logistics for the win!), Union Gospel Mission, the local woman’s shelter, A-21 and my church.

        I find it amusing

    • MADD jumped the shark when they started actively trying to abrogate my civil rights with their move into “gun control.”

      “What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ escapes you?”

      • What part of “gun control” has anything to do with alcohol or the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence thereof? Sounds like the “mothers” are suffering from serious mission creep!

    • Recommendations by federal health authorities are why my wife’s cancer was not found earlier. Routine yearly mammograms are to be only of the screening type, not diagnostic, no matter the type of breast tissue. For a “average” woman, that is fine, but a woman with large dense breasts needs to have the more expensive diagnostic mammogram.

        • That’s what the CTCA oncologist told Judy. She has Stage 3 and did not notice a lump until Sept. 1st. She said it was probably there on her last mammogram in May 2014 but was too small to be seen by the screening test.

          • Well, I have large breasts and so dense that until this year they insisted on an ultrasound as well as mammogram. And I have the history of breast cancer in the family to make this a little worrying.

      • I used to work for a company (Life Imaging) that made ultrasonic breast scanners. I’m convinced they were better than what’s normally used, but the company went under because it was an issue of finding/making room in doctors offices.

        Breast ultrasounds are normally done by smearing a gel on the breasts for good conduction of sound, then pressing the hand-held transducer into the breast. Our system had a bench on which a woman would lie prone, with an opening where their breasts would hang into a tank of water. This allowed the breasts to remain undeformed during scanning. I was hired to write the code for an upgrade to allow the focal plane to be changed to different depths within the breast; they already had X-Y positioning implemented.

        Fun fact: there are medical supply companies that produce fake breasts with different-sized inclusions for training ultrasound technicians.

  16. What may fundamentally change the face of cancer diagnosis and treatment is affordable individual full-genome sequencing. “Personalized medicine” is more than a buzzword, and the #1 factor in cancer is genetics.

    As for the focus on breast cancer: at least in my (and Nikki’s) ethnic group, the same mutations that raise the propensity of breast cancer in women also jack up the rates of colon and prostate cancers in men. I’ve attended at least one funeral of a male colleague in his 30s like that, and know several going through several rounds of surgery and chemo. Lo aleinu/may we be spared.

  17. The waste that comes with some of these orgs is horrendous. And it is more a signaling thing than actual donation. On another note, how often do you see people wearing blue in September for prostate cancer. I am not a fan of a lot of these setasides by interest groups cuz serve to divide.

  18. I don’t really get the pink hate. This is the only time of the year when I can reliably get certain things in pink that don’t usually come in those colors.

    Now, the breast cancer corporation that trademarked “Save the Tatas” can kiss my a $$.

    At thus point, my husband and I donate to 4 non – profits that have directly benefited people we know and we’ve started doing the 5k’s to raise more money. I consider it an investment in my future health because women in my family don’t die of old age. My mom will probably be the one who dies of kidney cancer rather than uterine or ovarian but she did always have to be different.

  19. Ah, cancer … I work in STM publishing, and was the production editor on two oncology journals for a number of years. One journal (which a copy editor referred to as “the journal of boobs and balls”) focused nearly 75% of each issue on … breast and prostate cancer (each issue usually had ~30 articles, ~230pgs). As far as they were concerned, all other cancers were considerably less important (lung? neurological? gastric? pediatric? cardiac? esophageal?).

    When people talk about orphan diseases or orphan drugs, they’re not kidding: funding follows the fads, and right now BREAST and PROSTATE are important.

  20. I wouldn’t say that I hate the plethora of pink that crops up in October, but I do have a strong dislike for most of it. There’s several of the more popular organizations that I refuse to donate to solely because very little of the money that they collect actually goes to research or women currently in treatment. After watching my mom go through chemo, surgery, & more chemo for Stage 2b breast cancer, I have minimal tolerance for organizations that say funding treatment & prevention research is their goal but only 10% of what they bring in goes to those things. Similar to what someone else mentioned, I donate directly to the research organizations that I want to support. I honestly hate the “Save the Tatas” campaign; to me it’s really hard to get more “conspicuous virtue/compassion” than that.

    All of that is not to say that I don’t have a few pink accessories that I wear on occasion. I’ve got a couple of pink ribbon pins that live on various bags & scarfs; but that’s the extent of my “pink passion”.

  21. Yes, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but there’s also prostate cancer, pancreatic and lung cancers, leukemia, malignant brain tumors, adrenal, esophageal… so much evil! So much to fight!

    Cancer, it is tragic. It is destructive. It is not evil. Fight it, oh yes, your last two paragraphs are fine marching orders for doing so. Do not, please, make the mistake of attributing the moral dimension of volitional evil to natural processes, for doing so serves to dilute our understanding of real evil.

    Grace, and peace.

  22. As mentioned above, standardized diagnostics and treatment is the government goal- which is more and more not the way it should be when looking at reality. Everyone, including everyone in the medical field, knows there are differences between racial groups in frequency of disorders and how the body responds. Actual research into those differences is absolutely forbidden. Turns out that cancer discriminates by blood type. More and more research on that is happening. Also cardiovascular diseases have different representations by blood type. Turns out by statistics, Type A’s live the shortest lifespans, Type O’s the longest. Could you imagine the outrage if insurance and pension plans took that into account when doing actuarial tables?

    And as mentioned before, family history of various types of disease is a risk factor. Based on family history, if I get overweight, I will develop diabetes. I watch my weight closely, and have educated my children on that particular bit of my family history. No direct line history of cancer, though 2 generations back all of my grandmother’s brothers and sisters died of melanoma. She died of old age at 91. I’ve had basal cell removed, once. My eldest squamous cell recently. Another thing for my kids to watch for.

    Some genetic diseases require both parents to contribute. Have a friend whose child had CF. No family history either her or husband knew of. After the child, they were both tested- and are both carriers. 1 in 4 chance any child they had would have CF. Since a lot of the genetic diseases are VERY expensive to treat, and create enormous stress for families, methinks genetic testing for the ones that are known should be required before marriage. Let the soon to be married couple know the risks before they reproduce.

    On a similar vein- many states allow first cousin marriage. I’m of the opinion that in today’s mobile world, marriage between second cousins and closer ought be prohibited. No one in the U.S. is trapped in their own small town anymore.

  23. Jesse Thorson

    I don’t pay any attention to “Pink.” As far as I’m concerned it’s a color, not a cause.

    On the other hand, my wife got some real benefits from the American Cancer Society. We just finished, in May, the last of the year and half treatments. She was stage 3. She’s still very fragile from both the Chemo and the radiation.

    Cancer is a disease that affects more than the one infected. We have had the conversation quite a few times that it was us that had the problem, just that she was the primary victim.

    • She’s still very fragile from both the Chemo and the radiation.

      That’s what scares me most about my wife and her long journey ahead for the next several months.

      • Jesse Thorson

        Yeah, it’s scary.

        If the surgeon takes a lot of lymph nodes, then there’s the lymphodema. The arm swells because the lymphatic fluid can’t circulate properly; which means she’ll wear a compression sleeve for the rest of her life, while getting massages to move it around from a physical therapist.

  24. William O. B'Livion

    I need to have a brown ribbon made for Prostate Cancer Awareness.

  25. My step son died of a cancer of the jaw in 2012. He was forty-two years old. Christ, what a nasty business.

  26. Grim cartoon on the consequences:
    https://xkcd.com/931/

    • Jesse Thorson

      Grim cartoon on the consequences:

      So true. One advantage though, you can see a dermatologist, that’s normally booked solid 6 months in advance, in a couple of weeks.

      We’re in “remission.” We get to see an oncologist every 4 months for the next year and a half, then it’s every six months.

  27. I’m in the Red Cross bone marrow database because I donate platelets. (Unit # 760 in the bag as of last Monday.) HLA typing is part of the process for signing up to donate platelets.
    As a result, I’ve been called twice to donate white cells.
    No calls for marrow yet.

  28. As with so many things in our society, what begins as a minor effort to do some good often becomes a fashion and then a racket. “Pink” started as an effort to raise awareness but once awareness reached a certain mass it became a bludgeon, used for virtue signalling and other nasty habits.

    But getting irate over it strikes me as being as sensible as getting irate over water flowing downhill. The churches are full of sinners and the souls of those staying out of the church aren’t exactly blemish-free.

    As it is better to light a single match than to curse the stench of the privy, so do I ignore the pinkish furor and focus on ignoring denying addressing the problems that come to my hands. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof, and I’ve yet to see a day devoid of one sort of evil or another.