Breast cancer rant

March 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Archives, News

I sat on the 4th floor in the oncology ward wondering why so many of the women like my aunt were not diagnosed sooner. My cousin died at 50 of breast cancer leaving 2 boys one in high school and one in his first year of college. With all of the technology we have in this country, why can’t we develop a technique to effectively see through the tissues of women’s breasts. We have lasers that can see through concrete in war but we can’t develop a technique to see through breast tissue?  Yes more women are surviving breast cancer but if we could detect it sooner many more would. Is it that women get the short end of the stick when it comes to prevention and treatment of their diseases. I mean after all when viagra came out most insurance companies covered it. Yet, many insurance companies did not cover birth control pills. OK let’s think about this. We will give pills to men so they can have sex, but not cover women so they won’t have an unwanted pregnancy with all those men having sex because of viagra. For a long while, we did not research symptoms that women exhibit before a heart attack.  Now we know they have different symptoms than men. But not until we finally did research on women. At least in the case of my aunt, the effects of the treatment were many times worse than the cancer. We can build technology that does almost anything but:: not one that can effectively see through tissue. I am angry. I believe that if more men got breast cancer, we would see the technology developed to catch breast cancer sooner. Maybe I wrong but I don’t think so. The most compassionate doctor I met during my hours and hours of being in the hospital as my aunt’s caregiver was a female urologist. She was not only compassionate, but she was willing to have an honest discussion about making hard quality of life decisions. My aunt’s doctor never, until the last month, broached the subject of stopping treatment because it was harder on her body that the cancer. He never discussed the prognosis for the 8 months I was with her until 4 days before she died  when he told her it was time to check about hospice. Too many women are not being diagnosed with breast cancer soon enough. I know that after watching what my aunt went through to live mainly for us, I will never complain again about hard times. But I also know that as a women and a person who has lost 2 family members to breast cancer in 3 years, I want to know why we can’t use some form of the laser technology used to see through war bunkers to identify aspects of breast tissue more effectively. Is there anyone else out there that feels the same way?

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