Angelina Jolie Receives Preventative Cancer Treatment

Angelina-Jolie-13Film star Angelina Jolie wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about her decision to receive preventative surgery to decrease her risks of breast and ovarian cancer. Jolie has a high risk of developing both forms of cancer because of her genetics: 87% for breast cancer and 50% for ovarian cancer. Jolie says:

I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much as I could. I made a decision to have a preventative double mastectomy. . . I hope that other women can benefit from my experience . . . and then take action.

I admire Angelina Jolie for her decision. Her risk of developing breast cancer has dropped from 87% to 5%. I think Jolie makes a very important point in the op-ed when she says: “I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.

Film stars like Angelina Jolie are often sexualized by their fan base, as are musicians like Beyonce. Women’s breasts are viewed as a commodity, rather than a part of the body. Jolie did not get a “boob job.” She took preventative measures to protect her health and continue to continue her role as a mother. And yet “fans” have been posting comments on Twitter that show the sexism that is so prevalent in popular culture (and American culture in general).

Jolie is lucky that her partner Brad Pitt has been 100% supportive throughout the surgery process. He has publicly called her a hero. I say thumbs up to Brad.
[Read more...]

Pink Ribbon Inc. – The story of how breast cancer become a pink marketable good

I don’t usually see movies in central London, but this time I decided it was worth the equivalent of $50 for two cinema tickets. The Human Rights Watch Film Festival was in town and my husband and I decided to see at least one movie. We decided on Léa Pool’s Pink Ribbon Inc, which is based on the book by Dr. Samantha King and boy, was that a good idea.

This movie really should have the subtitle: “Here’s more if you’ve sort of stopped being angry at Komen after the Planned Parenthood debacle.” It exposes how the Susuan G. Komen Foundation and the Avon Foundation have hijacked the ribbon from Charlotte Haley  (which was originally more of a salmon color than the bright pink we know today) and turned it into a tool for corporate gains.

To be sure – raising awareness is important and so is community. However, this film peels away the layers of pinkification and the “tyranny of cheerfulness” which now surrounds this brutal disease and touches upon the difficult issues. It talks about the very important stuff which is left unspoken during the runs and races for the cure. Just a few include: [Read more...]

Breast Cancer Organization Pulls Funding to Planned Parenthood

Yesterday, Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced that it would no longer provide funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates for breast cancer screening and education programs. Komen, the world’s largest breast-cancer organization, had been providing grants to local clinics for at least six years; last year, Planned Parenthood affiliates received nearly $700,000 from the group.

Given that Komen’s mission statement includes the promise that “we’re working together to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures,” why would the organization cut funding for programs that help so many women receive potentially life-saving care? Komen’s official reason is that it recently adopted guidelines that prohibit funding organizations that are under congressional investigation. Last fall, Rep. Cliff Stern, a Republican from Florida, announced an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds.   [Read more...]

Facts About Breast Cancer: Defining “Awareness”

Through the course of several blogs posts and a lively discussion here at Feminists For Choice an issue arose about breast cancer prevention and detection. Simply put: what are the guidelines and recommendations for breast cancer detection and prevention?  This doesn’t seem like an issues at all, a simple Google search should suffice to answer the question and the discussion should be moot.

Yet, what a simple Google search reveals is a plethora of websites promoting breast cancer awareness, a variety of “pink” products and plenty of opportunities to donate.  To find actual information on breast cancer the disease a little patience and some knowledge of website navigation is required. Both tools being supplied, what you will find is a variety of facts and figures about breast cancer that may or may not be current (or provide a date at all), and a multitude of contradictory information.  Many of the websites I found provided no source from which the “facts” about the breast cancer disease were acquired or provided vague links to home pages of breast cancer research sites, but did not point specifically to where the information was gathered.
[Read more...]

Feel Your Boobies! A Plea For Self-Exams and Early Detection

I know, I know, you’re inundated with pink and tired of listening to people shill for breast cancer awareness.

I understand, I truly do. The corporate takeover of breast cancer awareness, though, does not mean that you don’t have to self-exam, get mammograms, and have an early detection plan.

Breast cancer is still a killer (even though women have other major health issues, breast cancer is one that we should still be concerned about) of women AND men. It will continue to be, until we find a cure.

This post isn’t about a cure, though. This post is about you taking ownership of your health and making sure that you don’t fall victim to stage 4, untreatable cancer. Women’s health is clearly not a priority for the federal government, so we have to take it into our own hands (literally). [Read more...]

Breast Cancer: The Most Important of All the Cancers (?)

It would seem that breast cancer is more important than any other type of cancer.  Though breast cancer was fourth in both number of new cases and deaths in 2010*, its month of awareness trumps all others.  Does anyone even know that Prostate Cancer Awareness month is September? As in last month, the month before October, the month before Breast Cancer Awareness month? It seems one cannot escape Breast Cancer Awareness this month as it is blaring from the television, viral campaigns nearly reach the level of spam, pink ribbons are plastered all over restaurants and retail shops, even professional football players are sporting pink.  The sheer volume of business that jump on the pink band wagon is astronomical.

It was not until writing this article that I was even aware which month (if any) had been assigned to prostate cancer and while the gender stereotypical color blue has been deemed the color of prostate cancer, not many are aware of it.  And certainly the television, professional athletes and local retail establishments were not sporting any sort of Prostate Cancer Awareness paraphernalia last month.  Yet prostate cancer rates are close to, and in some years surpass, breast cancer rates in number of new cases and deaths each year.
[Read more...]