Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

I generally hate Reality TV

And there isn’t a chance in HELL I’d ever have watched any of the shows Jade Goody was on in Britian, Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother, etc… But you know what? I’m ok with her decision to remain in the spotlight while she dies of cancer.


This is not to say that she needs my permission, or the permission of anyone but the people controlling the cameras, but I’m ok with it. Because if it gives lie to the belief that ovarian, cervical, uterine or breast cancer only happens to older women, I’d be willing to sit through a season or two of Big Brother in support of her.

The problem with the assumption that cancer only happens to older women is that doctors buy into it, too. And as with Jade, frequently the cancer will not be diagnosed in time, because “that doesn’t happen to young women.” Not that this is what happened with her, it may well be that she wasn’t getting pap smears before this. But often, particularly with breast cancer, younger women will present with a lump or cancer symptoms, and they will be brushed off by their doctor, because of this belief that age somehow protects them.

Sometimes if the young women are lucky, or determined, enough, they will seek a second or third opinion from someone willing to actually diagnose them, not their age, and it will be caught in time to save their lives or their breasts or fertility.

If they aren’t, they’ll lose one or both breasts, or their reproductive organs, or their lives.

The mistaken belief that cancer is an old person’s disease kills people.

Granted, in your 20s it is LESS likely that you’ll have cancer, however, this does not give doctors leave to look at a lump in the breast of a 22 year old woman and say, “Well, I don’t know what it is, but it’s probably nothing.” If you don’t know what it is FIND OUT. And yes, I know that can be expensive. But not as expensive as invasive surgery and rounds of chemo.

Seriously, cancer happens to everyone, young and old, fit and unhealthy, all ethnicities, all classes. It doesn’t care. And everyone needs to know that.

4 comments on “I generally hate Reality TV

  1. javagoth
    February 20, 2009

    They found a lump in my breast when I was 18 and going to planned parenthood on my own because I was too embarrassed to tell my dad I wanted to get on BC pills… until they found the lump. Then I told my dad and my doctor. My doctor sent me to someone else to have a biopsy done so it could be tested. They said it was likely a calcium deposit – which is common for younger women and not a problem – but they wanted to test it to make sure and I was all for that. The biopsy came back benign (not Cancerous). At that point, to their credit, they let me decide if I wanted to leave it there or have it removed. I figured it was no good tempting fate and had it removed.
    I figured if I left it in it would freak me out every time I did an exam or someone else did an exam and that if we got used to it being there then we might miss if others sprang up near it that weren’t the original… or whatever. I had a mother who died of Lung Cancer and her father died of Skin Cancer – I was not about to leave it there if I had any say in the matter. Mind you – it would have been a harder decision had I not still been in high school and under my fathers insurance but I think I would have found a way to have it taken out…


  2. denyse
    February 20, 2009

    Apparently the cervical cancer screening rate in the UK has suddenly jumped 21% as a result of this publicity.


  3. lexica510
    February 21, 2009

    I started getting mammograms at age 35 (younger than the usual recommended age) because my mother died from breast cancer. For several years, it seemed to be up to me to remember to schedule them — my HMO’s automated reminder system didn’t seem to know how to handle younger women who needed to be reminded to go get squeezed. I was surprised and pleased to get a phone call from them earlier this month, saying “Hi, you’re overdue for a screening test, please call us.”
    Oh… hey… a thought just struck me. I was going to push it back until July, and schedule it near my birthday. (My manager at work and I were talking about mammograms, and she said that she kept forgetting to schedule hers until she decided “I get my mammogram the week of my birthday. Period.”) But yesterday would have been my mother’s birthday. I think I’ll schedule my annual scan for the week of Mom’s birthday. She would like that, I think.


    • polimicks
      February 21, 2009

      Breast cancer runs in my family. My grandmother had a mastectomy when I was small. She also had uterine cancer, as did all of her sisters. I’m kind of expecting it.
      The last time I tried to get a mammogram, my doctor said not to bother yet, as my breasts were too firm for it to penetrate well. I will give it another try this year. I do self exams almost obsessively as it is.


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This entry was posted on February 20, 2009 by in Uncategorized.

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