Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'm sure a pink ribbon will help

So, the Race for the Cure is coming up. No fewer than three people have already asked me if I've signed up. Um, no. I haven't. Why not? Well, it's a long story. You can read all about it here.

And now, in related news, it turns out that federal research and regulation of chemicals that impact breast health is ... basically nonexistent:
...it may come as a surprise that the federal agencies responsible for public health don't routinely take childhood exposures into account when testing whether commercial chemicals cause mammary tumors. In fact, in many lab-animal tests, they don't bother to look at the mammary gland at all. Breast cancer may be the No. 1 killer of middle-aged women in the United States, but as a new set of reports makes clear, the breast is a major blind spot in federal chemical-safety policy.
But it's not really that surprising, right? We allot billions and billions to research for pharmacological solutions to problems we ourselves are causing. In our model, we allow industry to fill our water and air with endocrine-disruptors and free radicals, and we relentlessly pursue agricultural policies that result in more toxic runoff and more hormones in our food, and then we invest big bucks in "curing" the resulting illnesses. Except that sometimes the cure doesn't work. Or the cure itself ends up killing you off. Or it "cures" you for awhile, and then you get some other heinous disease a few years down the road, that turns out to have been caused by the cocktail of drugs (and radiation) we pumped into you to "cure" you the first time. And this is somehow better than changing our practices to reduce the toxins in our environment to begin with? Really?


  1. My 72 year old mother had a double mastectomy last week for what looks, thankfully, like a very early cancer. Her quote: "If anybody comes near me with anything pink, they're going to regret it." She might not have read Barbara Ehrenreich, but she knows paternalistic bullshit when she sees it.

  2. Anonymous6/28/2011

    And then there are times when it's well-established that the chemo drugs will probably do more harm than good, but the recommendation is usually to use them anyway. I know it's hard for a doctor to not try everything available, but there are times when quality of life issues should be prioritized.

  3. Gynormica6/29/2011

    But there's no economic incentive tied to prevention, right?

  4. Anonymous6/29/2011

    From a keeping-healthcare-costs-down perspective there is - for everyone. But since no one person or group stands to gain directly from it, I guess you can say there's no economic incentive. The end result is the same.

  5. Funny, if the toxins in question were thought to cause penises to wither up and fall off, there would be a shitload of reasearch and regulation going on.

  6. Anonymous7/02/2011

    K8 – Actually what’s really funny is how folks like you don’t let the facts get in the way of their BS. Maybe you missed the memo but there’s a little thing out there called prostrate cancer that basically does the medical equivalent of making dicks wither and fall off. It came as no surprise to me that research funding for that particular malady is less than half of dollars being spent on boob cancer. So much for your smart-ass comment.


    As you can see you and your girlfriends constant complaining and lobbying about rack cancer has resulted in it being the most highly funded form of cancer research at the NCI. It's more than double the funding for prostrate cancer and the gap widened by $43.5M from 2008 to 2010. As a percentage of prostrate cancer research funding it has gone from 200% to 204% to 210% over the same time frame. So all ya gotta do is take $10M or so from that pot of over $600M and focus on environmental causes of the boob crud. Plenty of money there already.

    The sad truth is that they could double the funding once again and the complaining would still be there. Are you starting to see why most sane people are no longer interested in trying to satisfy feminists?

    I will say that I did some informal research on the cause of true dick withering and what I found was that it occurs when a guy ponders or actually finds himself in the disgusting position of having relations with a true feminist. That will do it every time. In fact we're pretty certain that big pharma plotted with you feminists in this diabolical scenario and that explains where Viagra came from. You girls created the need and big pharma filled it.

    So I think a bunch of those drug company execs owe their huge salaries & bonuses to you ladies' unquestioned and time proven boner-killing ability. Good Job, but I think you deserve a cut of those huge profits, after all if it wasn't for your unique skills were would they be, right?

    Keep up the good work but next time try to at least get some stock options.

  7. Anonymous7/06/2011

    Prof Rachel – Please explain to me why you didn’t put my post from a few days ago. I figured providing confirmed facts and specific back up would make an educated chick like you pretty happy. Guess not, huh? It really doesn’t reflect very well upon you and the Sisterhood. Sorta makes you look afraid of the truth.

    In any case, I need to thank you because your predictable bigotry won me a bet on the 4th. Some of my foolish friends actually thought that a professor at a land grant institution (PhD no less) would surely be looking for facts on issues she herself has raised. I told them they didn’t know you well enough and of course I was right.

    We also laughed our asses off at the Viagra/Feminism conspiracy theory. You really should develop more of a sense of humor or at least get together with the Sisters and try to make yourselves a bit less of a challenge to goof on.

  8. Rachel7/12/2011


    Your comment about funding and cancer research doesn't really have anything to do with this post, or the earlier one on the pink ribbon dynamic. My point has never been that we don't invest enough money in breast cancer research. I personally am not arguing that we need to increase funding. I want more prevention - not treating the cancers after we've already gotten them from the toxins in our environment. Do you see how that's a different claim?

    I suppose you could say you were only responding to K8, but then all your "you ladies" statements seem a bit odd. Feminists are not all identical, and we have a wide range of differening views, so lumping us all together and making innaccurate and dismissive claims about us is pretty offensive. I'll remind you again that ad hominems and name-calling aren't allowed here, and you're walking a thin line. Try to respond to the arguments people are making rather than attacking the people themselves. It's one of the most basic practices of civil discourse.

  9. Anonymous7/15/2011

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