Now that Breast Cancer Month is officially over, it is a good time to reflect on lessons learned. We were interested to read this blog which is an excerpt from the Cancer Chronicles by George Johnson.
When the woman he loved was diagnosed with a metastatic cancer, science writer George Johnson was determined to learn everything he could about the disease and the people who dedicate their lives to understanding and combating it. What he discovered is a revolution under way—an explosion of new ideas about what cancer really is and where it comes from.
In his blog, he says this:
With another Breast Cancer Awareness Month almost past, more money has been raised for medical research. But the hype, however well intended, comes at a price — the spreading of the cruel illusion that by next Pinktober or the next or the next, scientists will have found The Cure.
As I’ve written before, there is no such thing. Cancer is a consequence of entropy, “the legacy of being multicellular creatures in an imperfect world.” It is an unfortunate tradeoff of evolution, and against it there can be, at most, incremental progress. As the sloganeers demonize the inevitable, scientists are concentrating on smaller battles, ones they might actually win. They are seeking ways to make screening work more effectively — to identify tumors before they become fatally metastatic, but without falling into the trap of overdiagnosis. That can lead to disfiguring surgery, chemical poisons, and radiation — all to treat harmless “Stage 0″ growths that would have been better left alone.
What do you think of ‘Pinktober’? What is your take on awareness campaigns?
We’d love to hear from you.