Dr. Len Lichtenfeld of the American Cancer Society writes on his blog, “During Breast Cancer Awareness Month We Must Not Only Celebrate Our Success But Also Understand Our Limitations.” Excerpts:
“I fear that at times we have oversold our magic. I fear that despite all the progress and all the understanding about the disease, we still have too many women who either can’t get access to quality mammography, who can’t afford treatment, or who go bankrupt in the process. I fear that we have set expectations too high, while we are learning that our science is not as perfect as we would like it to be. I fear that we have too many tests chasing too few women for whose benefit some of the prescribed “solutions” are far from proven. I fear we have overpromised and sometimes underdelivered.
… I understand the anger of women with advanced breast cancer who say, “What about me?” Among these women are those who did everything “right” when it came to early detection and treatment. And among these are women who couldn’t do everything “right” because they couldn’t access the system or couldn’t find someone to treat them in a proper and timely fashion. These are women who pray for a breakthrough, who pray for a cure and wonder whether those who have not been diagnosed with breast cancer or who don’t have advanced disease really understand.”
That is a message that will resonate with many women with breast cancer.
“God Bless You, Dr Len!!! I have Stage IV BC (I am 46). My mom died from inflammatory breast cancer in 1983. Not partying…”
Related note: journalist Christie Aschwanden posts, “The false narratives of pink ribbon month, redux” on the Pink Ribbon Blues blog.