the knitting ref

Monday, June 05, 2006


Y’all, this is a rant. There’s no other way to put it. It deals with a delicate subject, but it’s been building a while, and I’ve got to put it out there and, hopefully, get over it. Cause, frankly, I don’t know of any way to get around the facts.

This morning I got up, tired and not at all wanting to go to work. I normally listen to the morning news—it helps keep me on track time-wise to get out of the house. And what glorious news did I get to hear? They have YET ANOTHER breakthrough for breast cancer. I am sick to death of hearing about all the wonderful things that are being done for breast cancer. Just since my diagnosis there have been many advances for breast cancer—more advanced screening techniques, drugs up the yazoo, and the list goes on and on.

The 1 thing for ovarian so far? If you get chemotherapy where they pour the drugs directly into your abdomen instead of your veins, you might survive an extra year. Woo Hoo. When is there going to be something really positive about ovarian cancer?

Let me stop here and say that, having watched one of my best friends die of breast cancer 15 years ago, that I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. And it’s wonderful that all this money and effort is being poured into ridding the world of breast cancer. BUT! There are lots of other cancers out there that are 10 times more deadly than breast cancer (lung, pancreatic, mesothelioma, just to name a few), and it feels like damn little is being done about them. For those of us who don’t have a “big” cancer, we’re like little kids outside a candy store looking in. But none of the candy is for us.

I’d like to give you a little comparison:

Breast Cancer:

“A woman’s risk of getting breast cancer in her lifetime is about 1 in 8. Approximately 12% of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer die from the disease within five years; at ten years, 20% will have died. The most recent available statistics show that 40% of all women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer died from the disease within 20 years.” (And due to improved treatment options that rate will be much less by the time another 10 years rolls around.)

BTW, invert that first statistic and that means 78% are still alive after 5 years.

Survival rates for breast cancer have improved by 2.3% per year since 1990.

The American Cancer Society has a 32-page document on breast cancer statistics.

The best way to beat breast cancer is early detection—breast self-exams and mammography.

For Ovarian Cancer:

“A woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is 1 in 67.” “About 76% of women with ovarian cancer survive 1 year after diagnosis, and 45% survive longer than 5 years after diagnosis.” (Note that there are no 10- or 20- year statistics. I can’t find any. I know from lists that I belong to that there are long term survivors out there, but their number is very small.)

Survival rates for ovarian cancer have improved by less than 1% in the last 15 years combined.

The American Cancer Society has 1 paragraph in their general information on ovarian cancer statistics.

There are NO screening tests to find ovarian cancer. (Your pap smear is only to screen for cervical cancer, uterine infections and some STD’s.)

And finally, I think this statement from the latest report of the Gynocological Cancer Foundation regarding ovarian cancer says it best: “The best way to help these women fight their disease is uncertain.”

I know that statistics is just a bunch of numbers, but people, I’m living in the real world. I have never had a remission and I don’t know how much longer my body can tolerate all the abuse it’s received while fighting the cancer. The stupid blood infection really made that hit home. I know I’m damn lucky to have survived almost 4 years. I continue fight the good fight, but I’m running out of ammo.

O.k., rant over. I’m off my pity pot and moving on.


At 3:36 PM, Blogger JRS said...

I couldn't agree more with your rant. In fact, there's a similar one on my blog.

I certainly don't begrudge anyone with breast or prostate cancer any positive developments--positive developments with regards to any type of cancer is good news--but why do we never hear about other types? Why do they not get funding? Why are there no public awareness campaigns? Where are the fundraisers? The displays in the bookstore? All that stuff. In short, why does it seem like no effort is being made with just about any other type?

I'm glad you threw the statistics into your post. Breast and prostate are so much more survivable--and sometimes I don't think anyone knows how grim the chances are for, say, pancreatic cancer!

Ok, enough of my rant. Great golf socks! Must check out that Socks Socks Socks book when I'm back in the States. I'm working on a pair for myself now, and it's going well, and is totally fun--I think I've got the bug!

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