In case you haven’t noticed, there’s lots of pink on display this month, especially in things that aren’t usually pink. The pink reflects a campaign to “raise awareness about breast cancer”, and I’ve been pondering what about it bugs me the most.
Annnd that wasn't supposed to be a reply to Unmarried Man, so sorry if that was confusing (although I do agree with him as well).
Excellent post, I strongly agree.
I've repeatedly expressed disapproval for "pink" initiatives to many people for many reasons - not least of which because I see it as something which is notable not for how much death could be prevented, but how what death would be prevented would only be prevented for one gender, making it intrinsically sexist. I have had mixed reactions from fellow males; I have never once failed to receive an unambiguous disapproval from every female under 50 years of age.
I'm not sure what that means, but maybe it's just that women aren't very rational and it is indeed all about signaling. (Not that I'm asserting that non-women are necessarily any more rational.)
We like tits - we get it. No can I watch football without seeing players in pink? Project awareness is complete. Now get to work on curing it.
This one is actually somewhat personal. My wife has Coeliac and just putting a label as to whether or not a food product contains gluten or could have been exposed to it would be enormously helpful. It's getting better, but still has a ways to go.
I believe Hopefully Anonymous is correct: the demographic segment with the highest incidence of breast cancer is nuns. Without pregnancy and the onset of lactation, breast cells remain undifferentiated and thus more susceptible to cancer.
"There are diseases that are not well known where wider knowledge could significantly improve the lives of those who suffer from it (such as Coeliac). However, because most people are ignorant of them and thus would require a larger time commitment in explaining them, they have little signaling value."That's a neat observed irony.
I've heard this before, but have yet to see anyone actually provide any evidence to back it up.
There is substantial signaling value in 'breast cancer awareness', precisely because it is well known. As you point out, there is little remaining practical value in putting so much effort into spreading awareness about breast cancer, since most people already know about it and significant resources are put towards studying it. There are diseases that are not well known where wider knowledge could significantly improve the lives of those who suffer from it (such as Coeliac). However, because most people are ignorant of them and thus would require a larger time commitment in explaining them, they have little signaling value.
The cost of wearing pink ribbons to show you 'care' is very low; therefore, it's attractive for signaling.
Robin, great article. So here's the question then:
Theres plenty of good that could be done with social awareness of health; What would you want a campaign made for; And on top of that, where would you encourage health-research allocation to go to?
(Which then begs the question: where does the dollar from breast-cancer-research charity campaigns go)
Indeed, there is a positive correlation between number of partners and odds of getting prostate cancer. But there is also an inverse correlation between amount of sex one has with a single partner and getting prostate cancer. The virus is one way of getting it, but it's not the only way. Like the rest of your body, the prostate needs exercise or else it degrades.
I will also point out that just because someone is having a large number of sex partners, that doesn't mean they're having a lot of sex.
My beef is: why October? The month that really says fall and the colors of autumn and...pink? Summer would have been better, when I've seen all the green I want or perhaps the end of winter....
Robin's previous post on AIDS in Africa is here.
the main way to avoid prostate cancer is to exercise it -- meaning, have sex.
The recently discovered XMRV virus is not only associated with prostate cancer, it has been shown to be transmitted the same way as the HIV virus (here's the paper). Further research may indicate that prostate cancer is sexually transmitted. Another study has shown that there is NO link between the amount of testosterone a man has and his likelihood of getting prostate cancer. If all this is correct, it would suggest a link between sexual promiscuity and prostate cancer -- and explain why all those big machers Steve Sailer mentioned (Giuliani, Norman Schwarzkopf, Bob Dole, Michael Milken, and Arnold Palmer) not to mention Philip Roth, Frank Zappa and others, got prostate cancer. It's not the testosterone. It's the alpha males access to multiple partners.
More generally, it seems like all “awareness” and one-sided opposition campaigns are centered on female issues.
I think that was true in the past, but less so as time goes on. I heard about Movember on the radio on the drive home today. Recently in my hometown there was a run for prostate cancer awareness.
Lucia,But that seems to be the main reason women care so much more about breast cancer. It's fairly uncommon way to die, but women's pulminary or cardiovascular month doesn't impact two organs with which women's sexuality is entwined.
To be fair if penile cancers killed any more than a handful of men, it would probably also be a top research priority (men don't really identify with their prostate).