Sunday, August 28, 2005

Breast Cancer - A Fight We Must Win



"When we take a look at the budget for the National Institutes of Health...it is, candidly, scandalous that with our resources, our research capability in biomedical science, that people are still dying of breast cancer." Senator Arlen Specter

Wanton acts resulting in wholly preventable deaths make me so angry I could spit. Protesting against them is critical. But in some cases, no matter what you say or do, the reality is that money talks.

I have no family serving in Iraq and I didn't lose anyone close to me on Sept 11, 2001. But like all of us, I've lost my share of loved ones in my lifetime. As brave Americans protest the rising body count in Iraq and we all review with horror recently released documents about our government's culpability in failing to prevent the 9/11 attacks, I am angered anew. But I am also stirred by my own memories of personal loss -- and I am desperate to DO something.

So it feels appropriate and timely to advocate a national effort to prevent death and disaster from another source -- Breast Cancer. To help those fighting the disease get the adequate care they deserve, and to ask for your support in those efforts.

Last month, I talked about my family's fight with Breast Cancer and noted that another one of my sisters had just begun to battle the disease. It hasn't gone so well. Today she is having a mastectomy.

It's far too commonplace a story: an anomaly found on a routine mammogram, surgery to remove the offending cells, then more surgery to clean up the margins, and finally, when all else fails, a mastectomy. We haven't lost her, thank God, and we pray for the best, but--just as in a war, or under the threat of terrorist attacks--there are no guarantees.

I mean no disrespect to the victims and families of the horrendous 9/11 and Iraqi War tragedies by directing attention to the fight against Breast Cancer -- but rather am seeking a way to make a meaningful contribution toward a battle to save other lives.

It's been said, usually as a cruel joke, that if men had breasts, there would already be a cure for breast cancer. I find it ironic that the extent of breast worship among males hasn't had the same effect. But men still rule the world and control the research dollars. And until it happens--God forbid--to their own wives, daughters, mothers or sisters, they'll continue to spend more in a month on erectile dysfunction drugs than in a year on breast cancer research.

So it's up to those of us who get it to dig deep and come up with the necessary funds to stop this disfiguring, devastating, often fatal disease.

In honor of my sisters Betsy and Nan, my Aunt June and Cousin Kathy, my dear friend Mary and her sisters -- and in memory of Ma Mere, Mildred, MaryAnn, Lillian, Bobbie and my mother-in-law Jenneth Swift, I make this plea today:

Support The Fight Against Breast Cancer

The US Post Office

The US Postal Service sells Fund the Cure stamps to help fund breast cancer research. The stamps were designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland, and contain the phrases, "Fund the Fight" and "Find a Cure" with an illustration of a mythical "goddess of the hunt" by Whitney Sherman of Baltimore.

Instead of 37 cents, this stamp costs 45 cents. The additional 8 cents goes to breast cancer research. A book of stamps costs $7.40. A book of Fund the Cure stamps is only $9.00. If you can you spare an extra $1.60, you'll help save countless lives. To date, the stamp has raised more than $37 million for breast cancer research.

M&M's.Com

Masterfoods (a subsidiary of Mars Inc.) has renewed its promotion to donate 50 cents to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for every package of specially produced pink and white M&Ms sold, up to a maximum donation of $650,000. Got a sweet tooth? Help save lives while you indulge it.

More tomorrow about the fight against Drive Through Mastectomies.

For today, pray for my sister, please.

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18 Comments:

Blogger Stef the engineer said...

"It's been said, usually as a cruel joke, that if men had breasts, there would already be a cure for breast cancer. I find it ironic that the extent of breast worship among males hasn't had the same effect. But men still rule the world and control the research dollars."

This is a little unfair. Don't forget that death rate trends from prostate cancer (and to a lesser extet testicular cancer) are closely mirroring those from breast cancer in the US, and other Western nations. No new cure there either. In fact, I don't know about the US, but UK attempts to start a screening programme for men similar to that which has saved many women's lives thanks to increasing the speed of breast cancer detection have stalled due to a lack of funding and political will. I believe US (and UK) rates from "male" cancers (testicular & prostate combined) are around 3/4 of those of "female" cancers and, as I said, the trend lines follow them almost exactly, to the extent many researchers believe similar triggers are involved.

Maybe you are right that drug firms (and, I take your point, the men that control them, acting for the shareholders, mostly men, who own them) think they can make more money from providing better sex than fewer deaths, but they don't REALLY care whether the people dying are male or female.

You may be interested to know that some work by John Hopkins suggests that the high rates of breast, testicular and prostate cancer in the Western world, compared to Asia especially, may be partly linked to high rates of refined fats and sugars (such as those in pink and white M&Ms, perhaps). Conspiracy theorists might like to note that in the US death rates from prostate cancer in particular are higher for African-Americans than for other ethnic groups. JH suggests this may be diet related.

All these cancers need more research, and wider acceptance and availability of early screening. A cancer tax on "lifestyle" drugs (such as viagra etc.) might be a great way of funding it. Until then, the charity support network has to do its best, and must try to find a balance with other worthy causes, both medical (such as heart disease research) and more mundane (books in schools, foreign aid). I don't know about the US, but there seems to have been a trend in the UK to fund more and more items through charity that used to be state supported, and still should be to a much greater extent, in my view.

Your sister, and the many others battling with cancer, have my best wishes.

5:21 AM  
Blogger jon said...

I was looking at your posts about cancer colon and found a good article about the same cancer colon info too...

God luck with it : )

2:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Naka said...

Hi i am totally blown away with the blogs people have created its so much fun to read alot of good info and you have also one of the best blogs !! Have some time check my link of health club orange county
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6:48 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

The statistics on cancer including cancer pancreatic symptom are quite frightening. I liked the information in your blog that also included for cancer pancreatic symptom. One day everyone will be able to win the fight agaianst cancer but I fear that it will not be in my lifetime.

12:23 PM  
Blogger honeylove said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:42 PM  
Blogger tony said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a lymph node cancer site. It pretty much covers lymph node cancer related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

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4:57 AM  
Blogger Editor said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a prostate cancer site. It pretty much covers Cancer related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

7:59 AM  
Blogger Editor said...

Wow that´s a great blog that you have there, mine is slightly differnent but it basically covers the same topics.

I have a cancer bracelet site. It pretty much covers Cancer related stuff.

Check it out, you won´t regret it... Cheers.. Roger From Http://www.havecancer.com

2:29 PM  
Blogger Editor said...

Nice blog that you have here..

I have a stomach cancer site. It pretty much covers Cancer related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

7:55 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Fantastic blog you've got here Sally Swift, I was looking for ovarian cancer symptoms related information and found your site. I have a ovarian cancer symptoms site. It covers everything about ovarian cancer concerns, warning signs, ovarian cancer treatment and breast cancer awareness. You'll find it very informative. Stop by and check it out when you can. Enjoy!

6:14 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Nice blog Sally Swift. Your posts were interesting reading. I was looking for breast cancer statistics related information and found your site. I have a breast cancer statistics site. It covers everything about ovarian cancer concerns, warning signs, ovarian cancer treatment and breast cancer awareness.. You'll find it very informative. Please try and visit it, see what you think and enjoy!
If you have a site similar to mine and would like to exchange links, please contact me through my website.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Amon said...

Well done on a nice blog Sally Swift. I was looking for information on prostate cancer information and came across your post this post - not precisely what I was looking for related to prostate cancer information but an interesting read all the same!

6:43 PM  
Blogger achamka said...

Here's a useful resources on nutrients help prevent breast cancer worth a look: http://breast-cancer1.com/

3:03 AM  
Blogger helpful said...

Here's a useful resources on passive smokers breast cancer worth a look: http://breast-cancer1.com/

8:39 AM  
Blogger helpful said...

Here's a useful resources on screening for breast health worth a look: http://breast-cancer1.com/

12:05 AM  
Blogger earnest said...

Here's a useful resources on gift giving for breast cancer worth a look: http://breast-cancer1.com/

11:15 PM  
Blogger blogiast said...

» International Trial Of Novel Breast Cancer Drug
14/12/06 07:03 from Breast cancer blog from medicineworld.org
-------------------------------------------------------------
A clinical trial of a new targeted breast cancer drug, led by
physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer
Center, has begun enrolling patients. The TEACH (Tykerb
Evaluation After CHemotherapy) trial will investigate ...


For useful content on breast cancer information, breast cancer rate statistics and breast cancer survival rates: check
the url is http://breast-cancer1.com

3:47 AM  
Blogger Chloe said...

How would you like to make a difference in breast cancer research? The Sister Study needs your help to determine if breast cancer is caused by something women come in contact with at work, at home, in their communities or in the personal products they use.

The Sister Study is looking for 50,000 women to help discover the environmental and genetic causes of the disease. Women ages 35 to 74 are eligible to join if their sister (living or deceased), related to them by blood, had breast cancer; they have never had breast cancer themselves; and they live in the United States or Puerto Rico.

ENROLL TODAY or simply help spread the word to women in your community! Either way, you can help find the causes of breast cancer!!

For more information visit www.sisterstudy.org or www.estudiodehermanas.org. Call toll-free 1-877-4SISTER. Deaf/Hard of Hearing call 1-866-TTY-4SIS.

8:51 AM  

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