Week 7 Blog Post

When talking about breast cancer most of the women before this are embarrassed or choose to not mention about this disease to the public. Just like what in the video saying, “we can’t say breast out loud” (Pool 2017). However, as time goes by and people are more open minded these days, breast cancer is an important mouth talking topic to everyone, and no one would be shamed on it.

There are some strengths of “mainstream breast cancer culture” that I can get from the reading such as the “generous funding in the USA for research into breast cancer (according to the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health have budgeted $401 million and the Department of Defense $112.5 million for 1997)” (The Lancet 1997). From this statement, I believe that all countries have provided a large sum of money to be donated and spent for breast cancer. Plus, the adaptation and infusion of pink color to the society in order to celebrate the breast cancer event gives strength to the survivors and the patients. I like how they give support with a quote “we treasure your chest” which actually makes the survivors who had removed their breasts felt that the decision of removing the breast is the right one.

In spite of talking about the strengths, there are also some weaknesses of the “mainstream breast cancer culture”. From my point of view, when talking about donations and money to certain event, I always wonder about “where the money goes to”? I heard that even some of the patients have to pay large amount of hospital bills and medications with their own money. From my personal view, I thought that the donations that people made would at least help them a little bit with the bills. Furthermore, the number of breast cancer disease lifetime risk have been increases from 1 in 22 in the 1940s to 1 in 8 in 2011. From the video, Dr Susan Love mentioned that, “I found that we really didn’t make that much progress. We still doing the surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. Maybe slightly different, we weren’t doing this much surgeries but we did more chemotherapy but really we still doing the same thing” (Pool 2017). It means that there is still not much progress happened to help the breast cancer. Nevertheless, I hope that the money would spent on research and studies and also the technologies to help the patients in the future. Also, the misused marketing decision of using the breast cancer as a bottom line to increase their sales instead of focus more on the breast cancer event itself keep rise nowadays.

When relating the anthropology theory with breast cancer, most of the people view this as a feminist theory since the ideas of creating the breast cancer event came from women but in Ley’s article, she mentioned that it is far from feminist (Ley 2009). Eco-feminism, from Google dictionary, is defined as a philosophical and political movement that combines ecological concerns wit feminist one, regarding both as resulting from male domination of society (Google 2018).


Google. (2018). What is eco-feminism. Google. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+ecofeminism&oq=what+is+eco-femin&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l5.8946j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Ley, Barbara. (2009). From Pink to Green. Disease Prevention and the Environmental Breast Cancer Movement. Retrieved from http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp270-us18/files/2016/06/7.1-Ley.pdf

Pool, Léa. (2017). Pink Ribbon Inc. NFB. Retrieved from https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5vqdad

The Lancet. (1997). Breast Cancer Gets the Hard Shells. Sciencedirect. Retrieved from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(97)21032-9/fulltext

2 thoughts on “Week 7 Blog Post

  1. Great post Farah! I agree with you that mainstream breast cancer culture is good at raising substantial funds for research. Like you also mentioned they have also been successful at normalizing breast cancer within our culture where it can be freely talked about and it is no longer taboo within our society. I really loved all the statistics you provided, it is crazy to think that one in eight women will now be affected by breast cancer. Like you, I am also skeptical as to where the money that is raised by these companies is going. Like the movie mentioned the medical community has not made any big advances, the one doctor said she was doing the same treatment she learned when she started practicing. I know this is not true of many other specialties in medicine. We are always finding new and better ways and developing new technology. It is hard to believe that with all this funding they have made no advancements.

  2. I really like the opinion that Peggy wrote,’The ribbon has come to symbolize both fear of the disease and the hope it can be defeated. It’s a badge of courage for the afflicted, an expression of solidarity by the concerned. It promises continual progress toward a cure through donations, races, volunteerism. It indicates community.'(Peggy Orenstein, 2013) However, there is so much ‘awareness’ of breast cancer in the U.S. It’s breast-cancer over-awareness. Women are petrified.
    So I have a different point of view, you wrote the survivors who had removed their breasts felt that the decision of removing the breast is the right one. I don’t think so.
    About 60,000 women in the United States suffer from early breast cancer each year, and most of them have undergone mastectomy (often double breasts) or lumpectomy. But a study that tracked 100,000 women with intraductal carcinoma of the breast (DCIS) over the past 20 years suggests that extreme treatments such as surgical resection are likely to target early-stage cancers that are not directly life-threatening. It is unnecessary.


    Peggy Orenstein, Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer, The New York Times, April 25, 2013, https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/magazine/our-feel-good-war-on-breast-cancer.html 

    Gina Kolata, Doubt Is Raised Over Value of Surgery for Breast Lesion at Earliest Stage, The New York Times, Aug. 20, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/21/health/breast-cancer-ductal-carcinoma-in-situ-study.html

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