Prudence and the Color Pink
It’s that time of year again. I’m seeing pink. Everywhere.
Even at the deli. I’m serious: sliced meat now comes with a pink pedigree.
With few exceptions, the pink lovefest seems to involve Susan G. Komen, who appeared ready to finally throw off the yoke of funding to Planned Parenthood and be more true to the cause, only to allow themselves to be bullied into submission. FIC member Jessica blogged last year about how St. Mary’s hospital’s efforts to provide free mammograms were affected by the loss of a Komen grant. I’ve been examining a lot of fine print on various products and growing more than a little cynical.
I’m not the only one, nor do I have anywhere near the most just claim on the right to cynicism. I have read two outstanding, illuminating blog posts by women who survived breast cancer regarding the ‘pinkwashing’ phenomenon (I didn’t realize it had a name…this is one thing I have learned, with wide-eyed gratitude).
The first piece deals with the insensitive and nonsensical ways in which well-meaning people sometimes try to “help” – like shedding their bras, which looks like a pretty dubious show of solidarity even to someone who hasn’t suffered debilitating disease. In a very small way, I relate. I once saw a retail outlet selling a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan, “Save the fun bags.” Fun bags? FUN BAGS? Are our bodies worth saving for their entertainment value? It may or may not be a good thing that at the time, I was too steamed even to go in and give some bewildered underling a piece of my mind. Instead, I resolved never to set foot there again.
The second, a personal narrative replete with helpful links, delves into the relationship between Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood and reminds us that there are pro-life alternatives. Frankly, it makes the Courant’s ‘special section’ on young women with breast cancer look like a bit of a farce, minus the humor; it looks all these influential allies square in the eye and shouts, “J’accuse!”
Johnson’s latest research, meanwhile, shows another disturbing trend: a small but statistically significant increase in the incidence of advanced breast cancer for women 25 to 38 without a corresponding increase in older women. (The researchers did not find a rise in earlier-stage breast cancer in young adults.)
The study, published in the February issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, showed the number of young adult women getting metastatic breast cancer has nearly doubled since the 1970’s.
“It used to be 4 percent, now it’s 7 percent,” she said. “It’s still thankfully a small increase but we didn’t find a single risk factor to explain it.”
Estrogen-sensitive cancers appear to make up the bulk of the increase, which is “comparatively fortunate,” the Journal authors note, because those cancers are somewhat more responsive to treatment and have longer average survival rates.
Really? Are they at a total loss to think of anything significant that might have changed in the 1970s?
Later, we are told:
Though Johnson’s study didn’t look at the reasons for the potential increase, one theory to explore looks at whether overeating and lack of exercise are driving up early-life metastatic breast cancer rates, Johnson said. The use of hormonal birth control could play a role, but the risk level goes back to normal about a decade after going off the drugs, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Ah, I see. All we twenty- and thirty-somethings need to do is try to avoid getting cancer for ten years. So simple, so practical.
Offhand mention of hormonal contraception aside, the article goes on to discuss all sorts of possible factors, except for the six-ton woolly mammoth in the room: legal, induced abortion. I suppose it would also take a miracle to hear them call out Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards for misleading the public into thinking that Planned Parenthood does a single mammogram in-house, which makes the loss of funding to St. Mary’s all the more shameful.
One other, invaluable resource I think all Connecticut pro-lifers ought to know about – doubtless, some already do – is Dr. Gerard Nadal’s blog. I had the honor of meeting Dr. Nadal when he sat on a discussion panel with Peter Wolfgang and Nicole Peck. His credentials are solid, and he began as a skeptic on the breast cancer connection, believing that there were sufficient reasons to be pro-life already; gradually, the scientific literature itself convinced him.
Have a charitable October while it lasts, friends, but do check that fine print to make sure your money goes where it ought.