Monday, September 30, 2013


It's very hard for me to read things that I know, at their core, are not correct.  Sometimes, it's even harder for me to put into words WHY I know the words are blatantly wrong.

The following words are in print, on a blog, that is written by a doctor.

"Scientists agree, at least 30% of breast cancer is preventable using known and proven risk reducing strategies."

This is called SPIN.

My understanding is that approximately one third of the cancer diagnoses (across ALL types) is considered "preventable." That number takes smoking into account as a controllable factor.  Colonoscopies and PAP tests have helped with colon and cervical cancer.  Ceasing the use of HRT has impacted the breast cancer rate.  

Directly addressing breast cancer, if I understand the research, we are in control of about 30% of the factors that contribute to any one cancer.  The rest is left to the luck of the draw.  The way that statement is written, I hear this:

If ten of us are lined up, 3 of us are "preventable."

Apples and oranges.  NO breast cancer is preventable.  Repeating for maximum impact:  We Can Not PREVENT Breast Cancer.  We can not prevent breast cancer from metastasizing (a topic I'm not going to broach today but it will be broached many times over the next 31 days).

In 2013, the word prevention has NO PLACE in the breast cancer vocabulary.  Period.  We can reduce risk.  We can be PERFECT at "using known and proven risk reducing strategies" and any one of us, pitch perfect, can still develop breast cancer.  

That statement is a jumbled mess.  Or, it's taking a statistic, twisting it to suit some message, and then, repackaging it to punctuate a highly flawed agenda.  And, it implies blame and that's just not where I want to be this year as October looms just hours away.

Susan Love, Chief Visionary Officer of the foundation that bears her name, the umbrella organization under which the Army of Women initiative falls, is THE go to person on research into the cause of breast cancer.  First understand the cause, then research ways to interrupt the process... to beat the cancer cells at their own game.

That day isn't here yet and for a doctor to word a statement in the aforementioned manner is misleading, irresponsible and like I said, SPIN.

Prevention in any one of us, in every one of us, is a goal.  There is no way to guarantee prevention.  Yet.

What can we do on the eve of a month of education?  For starters, join the HOW study, another initiative of Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.  There will be events.  Plenty of them.  There will be products.  Plenty of those, too.  I commit to encourage enrollment in HOW every place I see anyone rallying support for breast cancer.  I hope you will, too.

The answers lie in our bodies and the researchers will have a better idea of where and how to look if we begin sharing information.  The is the age of information.  The information is going to prove to be as important as the science.  IF we can gather it.

Let's do this.  Ladies, start your engines........

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