Monday, April 28, 2008

---The Ignored (or is that Hidden) Truth

You know, every time I see a pink ribbon campaign I get pissed off. Oh sure, some would say; “if you knew someone that survived or even died from breast cancer, you’d think differently.” Well, I have, I do, and I still feel the same thank you very much.

Recently, I was ‘discussing’ yet again, the disparity in research, care, and funding for men’s health issues. And of course, the subject of breast cancer being the #2 killer of all female creatures on the planet, whereas #1 being the patriarchy itself…

Tired of the bullshit ‘facts’ thrown around, I decided to waste some of my time researching the actual FACTS from two major sources, that of the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the NCI (National Cancer Institute).

Oh sure, I already knew that there was a significant disparity, but I wanted ALL THE FACTS. The how many’s and how muches, so to speak.

As with any “official statistical gathering”, there is always missing years. Why? I haven’t a clue. We are in 2008, yet there is very little concrete numbers more current than 2006/07.

Anyhow, without further ado, here is what I have found. By the way, I took the time to find this information, if you want to argue it, feel free, but look it up yourself. I aint your research bitch.

ACTUAL AND REAL NUMBERS on the disparity in research, education and treatment of two prevalent gender specific cancers; Prostate Cancer and (Female) Breast Cancer specifically.

Information from the 2006 NCI (National Cancer Institute) Fact Book:

Total budgeted dollars spent from 2002 - 2006 overall:

Male – 1.4 Billion
Female – 2.78 Billion - Almost twice the amount.

**Research dollars spent in 2006 alone on two gender specific cancers:

Male Prostate Cancer – 293.2 Million
Female (only) Breast Cancer – 584.7 Million - Again, almost twice the amount.

Estimated Incident rates of cancers for all races for 2007:

Male – 766,860
Female – 678,060 - Over 100,000 more cases in males versus females estimated

FYI: that from 2000 to 2004: Incident rate was 2.3M/1.7M Male/female – a difference of 600K more men.

Estimated Mortality Rate for all races 2007:

Male – 289,550
Female – 270,100 - Over 10,000 more male deaths estimated

FYI: that from 2000 to 2004: Mortality rate was 1.2M/807K Male/ female – a difference of about 400K more men.

** In most of their data sheets, 2006 was the latest numbers.

And for those that do not like to read, here is a cute little graph from the CDC showing the top 10 cancers - incident rate in 2004 for male/female (all races):

And here is the top 10 cancer mortality rate in 2004 for male/female (all races):
Please note the CDC’s reason for 2004 being the latest information:
“Previous versions of United States Cancer Statistics have been updated with 1999–2004 cancer cases as reported to CDC as of January 2007, and as reported to NCI as of November 2006, and made available through the SEER Program public use file.”

Notice that although not the #1 killer, prostate still KILLS MORE MEN OVER ALL RACES than breast cancer kills women... yet where is the research? Where is the $$? Where are the walkathons, the cans in the 7-11, the ribbons, and the stamps?! Where? Shit, even testicular cancer gets more media attention... and that is only because recently, a few public figures (Lance Armstrong for example) have MADE IT A MEDIA ISSUE. And that isn’t even in the top 10 cancers with just over 7 thousand new cases and 380 deaths in 2007.

Cute little tid-bits of info:

In 2006 alone, our government “granted” (gave) foreign countries: 28.16 Million dollars for cancer research. No stipulations or explanations as to where it actually went. Nice to know we have that sort of cash to just give away for…well… who knows?

In 2005, an additional $2.9 million was received by the NCI from the US Postal Service’s sale of the Breast Cancer Stamp. This is not calculated in the total dollar amount of breast cancer monies above.

In 2006, an additional $6.9 million was received by the NCI from the US Postal Service’s sale of the Breast Cancer Stamp. This is not calculated in the total dollar amount of breast cancer monies above.

So let us summarize:

Although the prostate is the #1 cancer site, we as a country spend almost double the amount of money on research, care, education and program moneys (USPS Stamps) on breast cancer (specifically women’s breast cancer – yes girls and boys, men can and do get it too).

Although prostate cancer is the #2 overall cancer killer of humans (sorry girls you are not the primary victims this time), breast cancer gets more media attention, funding, donations, educational programs, and of course donations.

Although prostate cancer doesn't differentiate between common men and political leaders, there have been recent politicians that have had a battle with prostate cancer... Yet, they continue to perpetuate this financial discrimination, I call it 'gray discrimination', upon all men. why?

Tell me again why we need a Federally Funded Women’s Health Commission as well as an International Women’s Health Commission (read – our tax dollars) whereas none exists for men?

FOR the people, OF the people, and BY the people.. eh?



Blogger Angela said...

I think it is more a matter of age than sex. Risk for prostate cancer is minimal under age 40 and increases with age (65% of cases are diagnosed in men over 65 but I'm not going to quote numbers). That's why testicular cancer gets more press because it is the most common cancer to hit males under 40. Same goes for breast cancer and women. Money goes to research for cancers that hit people in the prime of their life, not cancers that hit seniors at the end of their life.

9:30 PM  
Blogger ninilaara said...

Breast cancer gets more attention and therefore funding than prostate cancer because both men and women feel possessive of breasts. Ask the average woman if she owns her husband's prostate, and she'll look at you like you're crazy, but men often feel that their woman's breasts belong to them.

When prostates are used to sell beer, cars, and other consumer products we might see parity in research funding.

11:56 AM  
Blogger The Man On The Street said...


That has got to be the most rediculous femikook response I have ever heard....

Sort of like; When you women start filling body bags like men at wartime, we will continue to protect you.


3:11 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

This article poses good questions, and they've been explored before, I'm sure. Both commenters answers are very credible. The first commenter bases on the statistical reasons why breast cancer gets more funding etc. and ninilaara's comment looks at the sociology theories behind it. As I find sociology and social constructs of gender a very interesting subject, ninilaara raises a really good point. Having done some study in the area of women's bodies and the media etc., there is evidence to show that men do have a vested interest in women's breasts. This goes for both genders, there are some women who consider their breasts property of their spouses and male spouses who consider their partners female body, shape, form and parts as part of their own bodies and self. In other words, if a man's partner displays well (looks attractive), this reflects on the man's level of success and boosts his self-esteem. There's more to just men feeling as if they "own" women's breasts, a woman with "perky" or "big" breasts can actually make a man feel good about himself.

One only has to look at the amount of research and money is plunged into breast implants, breast augmentation and general surgery to start to understand that women's breasts play a much more important role in our society than simply breastfeeding offspring!

Great point, ninilaara, I'm really pleased I read it because it opens up an interesting area of study and thought!

3:13 AM  

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