Thursday, 13 October 2011

Breast Cancer, The Media & 'Zleb' Culture

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month so of course there are lots of stories popping up all over the place featuring various 'celebrities' who have breast cancer and I am sick to death of hearing how one particular actress thinks of it as 'just a year out of my life'! For fuck's sake woman, will you stop giving the impression that breast cancer is soft, pink, fluffy and having it/being treated for it is like a picnic in the park! I was incensed at a television interview she gave last week, basically saying it was no big deal and equally incensed when I found out that they chose to interview her rather than the two 'ordinary' women originally signed up because their stories were about the crap side of having breast cancer. I have so much admiration for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Sally Whitaker and Jennifer Saunders (via her husband) who were honest enough to say that it is anything but 'just a year out of my life.'

Also, if one more bloody zleb tells the world that she has got the 'all clear' I swear I will buy a gun and shoot her myself! You never get an 'all clear' for breast cancer, it's one of those that is very good at reappearing in other places, coming back in the other breast or on the site of your original lump. Okay, it is fair to say that I fall into the smaller percentage of women at a much higher risk of recurrence which is why this really annoys me, but no one yet knows enough about the mechanisms that breast cancer cells use to enable it lay dormant and then pop up again after primary treatment is completed, often years after that treatment is completed. This is why you can never say you have the 'all clear' all you can say is that you have 'no evidence of disease.'

This has led me to wonder whether celebrity spokeswomen for breast cancer are in fact more of a hindrance than a help because far too many of them paint a less than honest picture about what it means to have it. This is all part of why I think that whilst it has its uses, breast cancer awareness month is far too pink and fluffy for its own good. Plus a large percentage of it is marketed towards younger women when in fact the greatest proportion of women with breast cancer fall into the 60+ age category. I have yet to see much in any of the media coverage so far that actually talks about how to check your breasts and why is there no mention that men can get it too. . .

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