April 30, 2013

Interesting NYT article

In last Sunday's New York Times article, Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer, author Peggy Orenstein discusses a number of issues related to breast cancer, particularly the need for mammography. She also said the following:
According to a Fortune magazine analysis, only an estimated .5 percent of all National Cancer Institute grants since 1972 focus on metastasis; out of more than $2.2 billion dollars raised over the last six years, Komen has dedicated $79 million to such research — a lot of money, to be sure, but a mere 3.6 percent of its total budget during that period. (Bold type my emphasis.)
I've been saying this for years, Instead of raising awareness (as if anyone in the US was somehow not yet aware of breast cancer), we should be spending money on research to treat and cure.

As Orentein writes, "Breast cancer in your breast doesn't kill you." It's metastasis to organs that kills about 40,000 women a year.

Orenstein concludes:
It has been four decades since the former first lady Betty Ford went public with her breast-cancer diagnosis, shattering the stigma of the disease. It has been three decades since the founding of Komen. Two decades since the introduction of the pink ribbon. Yet all that well-meaning awareness has ultimately made women less conscious of the facts: obscuring the limits of screening, conflating risk with disease, compromising our decisions about health care, celebrating “cancer survivors” who may have never required treating. And ultimately, it has come at the expense of those whose lives are most at risk.


  1. Amen, Jill...Amen!

  2. double amen. it is all about saving the looks and not the lives. you go girl.

  3. I just got an e-mail from my niece who sells Pampered Chef. They want to "whip cancer" Pink kitchen tools will, apparently, change the world.

    She thought that I would champion her cause, forward the e-mail to people that I know who would be interested in 'whipping cancer'.

    The faces of so many people come to mind. I didn't say anything to her, but my first thought was, "Yes. I know many people who want to whip cancer. Let's get started now. So...what are we going to do?"

  4. Anonymous9:56 AM

    Thanks for the column and for the Hawaii pictures. The NYT article is very good, required reading. I think we need to acknowledge that the government seems to have turned over its stage 4 breast cancer strategy to Komen some time ago in adopting the "screening/prevention equals a cure" strategy. That marginalizes this disease. The FDA needs to pursue this disease with the intensity that the cure for polio was pursued, and should not continue to give lip service to the Komen agenda as the solution for everything.

    What is not making sense right now is the FDA inertia in getting palbociclib into the hands of the people who need it. That is a nationl disgrace.