Cancer awareness goes awry

Cancer awareness is no longer 'health promotion'. It's basically 'brand promotion' for cancer charities. You can, it seems, mumble any message with the word 'cancer' in it to people who don't have 'your' cancer and appear to be promoting health. I do not necessarily agree.

Ladyparts? That's my brain, isn't it...? It is, isn't it? You mean my BRAIN, don't you? Go on, it is, isn't it?...

A couple of months ago I spotted an advert on a District Line tube train. It was for a ‘Love your ladyparts’ leaflet from Macmillan Cancer Support. Symptoms and cancer, for women. Health promotion, on the face of it. I didn’t have time to note the text number to message before I got off but there are some traces of the leaflet on the web.

You can see its front page here.

Missing images in cancer: ageing and the old

Cancer is a disease of ageing. This means that the risk of getting it go up as you get older, all the more so after age 50. This remarkable fact goes unremarked – or at least lacks all conspicuous examples - on most cancer charities’ websites.

Airbrush, whitewash or accident? Older women missing from another breast cancer campaign.

The cancer research charity Breast Cancer Campaign has launched a new... ummm.... campaign. You can see it here. The call to action is ‘email your MP’. Then the MP gets information that raises their awareness of secondary breast cancer, the importance of increasing survival and improving service delivery. It boils down to ‘There’s an election next year.

Prostate Cancer: One of the UK's 'biggest man killers'? Really?

Quick! Run after it! The rhetoric's getting away!

I’ve just spotted the following, at the bottom of a job advert in the Guardian, seeking an Information Officer for Prostate Cancer UK.

“We are building Men United, a growing team of men across the UK, to get the message out there about one of the UK’s biggest man killers, to support men affected by it and to raise funds to find more reliable tests and treatments for the future.”

This month I’ll mostly be aware of….

Masses! Absolutely masses. Health awareness and charities….. Tch. It’s all gone to nonsense, hasn’t it? There are so many Days/Weeks/Months the concept is just silly, offering little of actual use to the audience. Many are only done because it’s ‘what you do’ in broad-brush healthee charidee way.

Breast cancer in proportion. Causes of death, in women, UK 2010.

I go on about the popular presentation of cancer and how it must look to most people. It is so mis-informative that it has turned most cancer awareness to nonsense. The chatter of the associated cancer charities wheeling out their legions of slebs yet again seem to tell women that breast cancer is the biggest health problem facing them. 

It is big, but not the biggest. Or the only one.

No idea why but breast cancer charities struggle with screening and informed choice.

I’m training my beady eye on breast cancer charities, picking over their joint response to last week’s outcome of the breast screening review. A bit of context: I refused breast screening last year, based on the inadequate information on risks that was available to me. Now I am better informed via the Review I’ll probably continue unscreened as, for me, the benefit isn’t big enough to risk the risks.

'Routes to diagnosis' - cancer, emergencies and the elderly. What do the cancer charities think?

This post combines my interest in cancer awareness with my concerns about the absence of the elderly from most cancer charities’ agendas. I suggest two things. That 1) the single issue cancer charity sector should cast a properly self-critical eye on their role in ‘cancer awareness’ and 2) that it is now obvious that there is such a thing as the wrong kind of cancer patient - and that’s an old one.

British public still resolutely stupid re: cancer. Kids join parents in the dark

CR-UK will be pleased. Someone else’s woeful polling has caught my eye. Macmillan Cancer Support are now at it. On September 7 Macmillan announced that the British public are more ignorant than the even most exasperated cancer charities had previously supposed. British kids are ignorant too!

Another in the series 'Cancer charities and their woeful polling.'

This should be subtitled 'a case study in how to generate health news in a lazy media, whilst not actually putting a great deal of effort in yourself, either.' 

Cancer Research UK have been at it again, with another piffling survey of the UK public and their seemingly impenetrable ‘ignorance’. Do stop!