Remove politics from cancerLast week, the millionaire actress, Nicole Kidman came to London to mark the launch of Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign. Kidman has a profoundly good reason for wanting to highlight breast cancer, her mother suffered from the terrible disease when she was only 17. For Kidman, and for many people, the fight against breast cancer is charged with emotionalism and subjectivity - however, we cannot, nor should we, allow the provision of cancer health care to be driven by such emotional campaigns.
The pink-ribbon breast cancer awareness campaign acually ends up pitching one cancer against another. The use of a high profile actress to bring this particular disease into the limelight risks dividing cancer sufferers - the pink-ribbon campaign has a tendency of pulling away the spotlight, and more importantly, it drives away precious resources from other cancer health research, like lung cancer. We should remember that lung cancer kills far more people than breast cancer in the UK. Lung cancer research hasn't got celebrities to stop the traffic to raise funds, or to influence debates and raise 'awareness'.
There is no doubt that cancer care in Britain needs to be radically improved, but the last thing we need is to attach values to different cancers based solely on its political profile. I'm not the only one who has reservations about the politicisation of breast cancer, the former professor of cancer medicine, Karol Sikora, argued in The Observer, that when;
"Nicole Kidman launched Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Madame Tussauds on Friday, she contributed to a process which will put breast cancer at a higher level than colon cancer in the political mind."
I don't think it's right, that when it comes down to rationing of resources in the health service, that breast cancer, with its pink-ribbons and high profile celebrities, is seen to fare better than any other cancer - is that really fair?
Do read: Honest Medicine's Julia Schopick responds to Sen. Joe Biden. Oct 2007