To the editor:
So Tuesday’s Journal-World is printed on pink paper with many articles and stories about breast cancer detection and treatment. Always more and more pink. We can buy almost any product we want that is pink or has a pink ribbon on it, all with a promise that we are contributing to the fight against breast cancer. But the pink ribbons are often more about marketing than about addressing the profound realities of this serious disease.
I lived through metastatic breast cancer and its treatment 11 years ago and am extremely grateful for the treatment and drugs that helped save my life. I’m equally thankful for the many people who cared for me at the KU Medical Center. But with that said, I am frustrated that our emphasis on breast cancer awareness, screening and treatment — all of which are important — ignores the bigger picture: What is causing this and other cancers?
This year, the American Cancer Society estimated that 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer would be diagnosed among U.S. women and 39,620 U.S. women will die from the disease. While death rates from breast cancer have declined over the past few decades thanks to the development of new and more effective treatments, the overall incidence of new cases is steadily rising. When will we join together to demand, and fund, research to find out why? Let’s honor breast cancer victims and survivors, not just by buying a pink newspaper, but by working together toward something even more ambitious than curing cancer: preventing it.