Had enough of breast cancer awareness?
Conversations lately address breast cancer awareness since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But some say, "enough is enough."
The color pink pops up everywhere as a reminder, but sometimes the message is not clear. I'm sure no one is against someone fighting cancer, but here are some of the concerns raised.
Too much ta-ta?
A recent marketing slogan for breast cancer is “Save the Ta-Tas!”
Some suggest we've gone too far in using urban slang for proper anatomy. Snappy code words belittle the concerns, they say. The pink wristbands declaring “I love boobies” have become another token call-to-arms in support of breast cancer research.
There are also breast cancer marches that glamorize the cause by featuring men in bras or more extreme topless temptations, all declaring support for defeating breast cancer. Raising awareness breaks some people's modesty rules and some argue that it trivializes the seriousness of cancer.
Michael Huckabee is professor and director of the physician assistant program at UNMC. He's worked as a physician assistant for 30 years, primarily in rural Nebraska. He blogs every other week. Read more from Michael.
Just when the world understood that mammograms were the key to detecting breast cancer, the rules changed.
Now, not every woman needs repeated mammograms. Some worry that the new rules will miss breast cancer, some say we've already done too many mammograms and some believe it was all just a cash cow for medicine. The confusion breeds contempt and the anger can be misdirected toward breast cancer awareness. Instead, we should applaud science for refining our strategies to better focus the need. It's really not complicated.
Some women should start screening at age 40, and all women should start at age 50. Anyone with a concern can start earlier. Just work out any concerns and questions through your healthcare provider, who is trained to tailor what's best for you.
What about all the other cancers?
We wonder why all the fuss over breast cancer when there's so many other cancers that deserve the same attention.
Skin cancer remains the No. 1 cancer in the U.S., followed by lung cancer and prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. And many people have worries about ovarian, bladder and thyroid cancers as diagnoses continue to pop up among those we love.
Everyone needs to remember that breast cancer still directly affects one out of eight women in the U.S. Increased awareness and funding in support of researchers and clinicians has resulted in a drop in breast cancer death rates by 34 percent since 1990. That's a remarkable decrease considering successful treatment for most other cancers show little change.
I'm a bit biased. My mom had breast cancer 30 years ago and we're glad we still have her with us, cancer-free.
You don't have to go far to find someone who has been touched by this cancer. Today, we have refined technology for diagnosing breast cancer and better-than-ever treatments for when breast cancer is diagnosed.
We truly can thank Susan G. Komen and so many others for this progress, as well as the thousands of doctors and researchers who have remained committed to pursuing the cure for breast cancer.