Can it be done? Well the jury's still out on that question, but it's a start and we can't do any worse than where we already are. Click here to read to read the NBCC's Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 publications, including a baseline status report, their white paper on the mission, and a letter to scientists.
In coming posts I will be sharing my reflections about the conference as well as other important information about things that we can all do to continue our efforts in helping to change the conversation about breast cancer, in order to bring about the paradigm shift that will be crucial to achieving the NBCC's goal of ending breast cancer by 2020.
So where does one start?
I was pondering this question, as I was on the train returning home and reading "Ending Breast Cancer: A Baseline Status Report". Facts were jumping out at me and I began to feel overwhelmed. Here's a small sample.
90% of breast cancer deaths are due to metastasis. The incidence of women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer has not changed. Rates of diagnosis of truly lethal disease have remained stable since 1975. Mortality rates have not changed significantly. Forty thousand women and hundreds of men in the U.S. alone will die from breast cancer this year. The evidence of a mortality reduction from early detection is conflicting and still under question. The efficacy of mammography as a screening tool remains a highly contentious issue. Early detection is no guarantee that a later stage diagnosis can be prevented, nor that that a cancer will spread through metastasis at some later date. Treatments to eradicate metastasis do no exist. There is still SO much we don't know.
Lest I become too disheartened and simply fall into a heap crying "it's all too hard!" I decided to take a break from my reading, and go and hang out on Twitter for a bit. Perhaps @BurbDoc could lighten my mood with his humorous rantings from #Suburbia. Perhaps something like:
ACTUAL PATIENT QUOTE: "What do you mean no one prescribed quaaludes anymore?"
But it wasn't to be. Instead I saw this:
Blood pressure rising, the banshee scream beginning to curdle, but of course I had to click through.....
Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the global leader in the fight against breast cancer, celebrates survivorship and we want you to as well. Please describe in 750 words or less why you or someone you know should be the 2011 Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure® Survivor or Co-Survivor of the Year. The Co-Survivor category recognizes someone who has gone above and beyond in support of a breast cancer survivor. To be eligible for either award and to submit a nomination, you must be a registered participant for the 2011 Komen Global Race for the Cure. Remember, 750 words or less for either category. The winning pair, to be selected by the 2011 Susan G. Komen for the Cure Executive Survivor Committee Task Force, will have demonstrated the greatest impact on their community as well as the global spirit of survival.
************ FULL BANSHEE SCREAM ************
So Komen wants us to "celebrate survivorship" by nominating a "2011 Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure® Survivor".
I guess the forty thousand women and hundreds of men who died last year of breast cancer won't be eligible. Because they clearly didn't survive, and I guess that's an important criteria in order to receive this accolade.
Apparently the lucky recipients of this award "will have demonstrated the greatest impact on their community as well as the global spirit of survival." I'm not really sure what all this means, but I'm wagering that "greatest impact on their community" has something to do with how much money the winners raised for Komen, and that their "global spirit of survival" at least means they are not dead.
After entertaining myself for a good few train journey miles about the blatant hilarious ridiculousness of the very notion of a "Survivor of the Year" award, I was left with the following thought.
Imagine if we acknowledged the truth about breast cancer and paid as much attention to the DEAD, as we do to celebrating the so-called achievements of the mainstream breast cancer movement at all those pink parties and pink events, and handing out Survivor of the Year awards to those who revel in the "global spirit of survival".
Maybe, just maybe "Breast Cancer Deadline 2020" could be achieved.
|A picture of me paying attention to the truth.|
There were no awards handed out at this conference.
(Also this is not a product placement for Ocean Spray OJ ;) )
Today's post is dedicated to Sarah, aka The Carcinista, who passed away yesterday of metastatic ovarian cancer at the age of 39. If my posts read as a bit snarky, I owe it all to Sarah, whom I shall always remember as The Queen of Snark (with a Message). On one of her last comments on my blog, she described my snark as "delicious". No Sarah, you, my friend, were delicious. Your wit, humor, sensitivity, smarts, and downright courage in the face of a terrifying beast will be remembered always. Another shining bright light in the cancer blogosphere went out with the loss of the beautiful Sarah. RIP.
(For more information and resources on ovarian cancer, please see this guest post by The Carcinista)