The Big Scary C! By Jumana Al Awadhi

When we talk about breast cancer, we should know that it lurks close to us. Statistics confirm the high proportion of affected people as compared to earlier years. I don’t think there is anyone who does not fear it or doesn’t have painful memories of a relative or friend. But the prevalent information about it is only part of the truth. Our information about cancer is incomplete, erroneous, blended with marketing campaigns, or even incorrect awareness campaigns. The public derive their information about breast cancer from very limited sources.

I was speaking a few days ago with an American doctor and researcher, about mammogram having turned to brainwashing. Women are fully convinced that all they have to do to prevent breast cancer is a radiological examination. He believes that radiation exposure on a regular basis has many risks and especially this type of radiation, in addition to false readings and subsequent medical procedures that put women and their families under devastating psychological pressure. Limiting the fight against breast cancer to early detection and management by marketing campaigns sends the wrong message to women. It is unfair to make mammograms the focus of conversations rather than plans to increase awareness of the importance of breastfeeding or healthy living and physical activity, all of which have proven to be beneficial.

I asked him if his opinions on mammograms irked his colleagues. He said it absolutely did not. The truth is that as scientists, they are constantly researching, and what they know today was unknown until yesterday. There is no successful doctor who has not changed his mind several times about the same subject. There is no absolute faith and ratification in the world of science.

When we talk about breast cancer, we hear things like not wearing a bra with underwire, or the relationship of the disease to depression, or the amount of insulin intake, or even staying away from electromagnetic circuits. These are all theories. Recently we have started to see products not supported by studies, which claim protection from cancer or other illnesses.
In case of illness, the patient is at their weakest state, which makes them easy prey for traders without morality. There are also those who repeat what they hear, thinking that it is right. In both cases the victim is the patient. The disease exhausts the patient and their family. It weakens one’s ability to make judgments and a fateful decision such as one appropriate treatment or another.

There is a big difference between what is legally allowed and what is ethical. The truth that cannot be denied is that breast cancer has become a profitable business. Playing on the feelings of people at their most vulnerable may be within the legal framework. We witness thousands of fraud cases recorded globally. Selling beautiful pink ribbons for instance, the proceeds of which did not go the correct places. Large companies also use the pink color purely for commercial gain. Even in the food market there are many products that claim protection, or prevention, or even treatment.

When speaking about preventing cancer, one should talk about health practices that can make a difference, such as healthy eating, sports, breastfeeding, mental health, yoga, meditation and others. But sometimes trading companies neglect these details, because it is not profitable like medicines and practices.

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