Where to now?

Breast cancer is sexy cancer; that is why it is the most high-profile form of cancer.  It is all about the breast and all the cultural connotations that are involved with that – from nurture to porn.  The image is of voluptuous breasts even after treatment but I don’t think that many of us who have had surgery and other treatments would actually recognise this image.  Recent attempts to raise the profile of women with metastatic cancer were actually blocked by facebook because they were considered to be pornographic!  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2162381/How-Facebook-brand-scars-pornographic-When-women-posted-pictures-mastectomy-Facebook-site-banned-Here-survivors-defiantly-hit-.html Or is it just the thought of a breast mutilated by cancer that is considered to be unacceptable so they decide to call it pornographic because breast cancer is sexy cancer?

As this disease has so much attention it is particularly sad that so many still get the disease, despite the millions spent on educating people about the symptoms and how to avoid it, but for me it is even more disappointing that so little has been done to help those with metastatic breast cancer.  We are the ones who will die from it, yet so little seems to have been achieved when it comes to treatment options in ratio to the sums raised.

I can only imagine the frustration of those with low-profile cancers and the way they must feel at the coverage and interest, to say nothing of the funds, available to breast cancer charities and research.  But at the cutting edge (in more ways than one) I for one don’t feel as though there is really much action being taken by those who have the knowledge and power to help us.  In many ways I have begun to feel that charities are more about image and job creation within the charity sector than they are about the reason for the charity existing in the first place.  Why does a charity have to spend, say, 22% on admin?  Especially when a lot of those doing this work are volunteers.  When did charity stop being about vocation and start to be about exploitation of a vulnerable group?  When did it all become about branding, and re-branding, image and style.  Cancer is not a brand; it is not an image; and personally I fail to find anything stylish about having it.

It is the same with research.  It now seems to be about advancing careers, patents and profits.  Medicine now seems to be about advancing careers, profits and narrow mindedly sticking to the conventional treatments sponsored by those making a profit from other people’s ill health.  Where is the compassion?  Where is the open mindedness and independence of thought than were behind so many of the great scientific advancements?  While research seems to be suggesting that cancer, and breast cancer in particular, is a very multi-faceted disease which does not have just one cause or trigger, but needs several causes to come together in a ‘perfect storm’ to allow the bad cells to start to form tumours.  Research seems to accept that diet and lifestyle and the lack of certain nutrients and minerals are a part of the storm and yet this seems to be ignored as a way of treating it because there are no patents on fruits and vegetables, nutrients and minerals unless they can be synthesised and patented to create a profit.

It all gives new meaning to Your Money Or Your Life…

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