Friday, September 22, 2006

Enough with the Pink Ribbons Already

The (to remain unnamed) "ignominious" foundation that Twisty mentions here gives a lot of money to my (to remain unnamed, as well) place of work to provide mammograms to poor, uninsured women. So, why aren't I defending them? Because this sentence from Twisty's post is dead on:
Furthermore, once all this ‘awareness’ has produced, via mammography outreach programs or self-exam propaganda (both masquerading as ‘prevention’), a positive diagnosis, there’s not any great push to secure treatment for underserved women.
Although this foundation funds the mammograms we provide, they give us NO money for follow-up diagnostics after a women gets a questionable result on her mammogram and NO money for treatment for women diagnosed with cancer. They pay for a mammogram, period. What use is that for someone who can't afford treatment? It's all well and good if they have a negative screening and can enjoy the peace of mind of a clean bill of health. But, what about those women who find out they have cancer and there's no more help for them?

We have secured additional funding to provide basic diagnostic testing, which I am so thankful to say, usually results in a conclusive diagnosis of something benign. We also found funding to pay for program staff to provide follow-up case management to try to help women navigate the medical system - an important service because the vast majority of our clients don't speak English. But, we can't afford to pay for biopsies when a possibly malignant lump is found, and we certainly can't pay for treatment.

This foundation puts a huge emphasis on breast cancer awareness, and has contributed to the proliferation of 20 bazillion tons of pink crap for people to spend their money on. At this point who's not "aware" of breast cancer? What we need is "total lack of treatment options for really poor people awareness." And then we need people to focus their efforts and resources towards making sure all people can access treatment whenever they are sick, whether they're suffering from cancer or mental illness or a really nasty cough that might not turn into pneumonia if they can get treated early.

No comments: