Long, wild, loose, messy, and all the rest of it

If there is anyone out there – who is on Facebook – who has not yet read about wild and long and black – or whatever the compilation is, then you obviously don’t read FB very much. And that is maybe a good idea.

For those of you a) not on FB and b) who are but don’t understand what on earth this is all about – the first is a reference to the state of your hair, and the colour reference is to the bra you are wearing.

So, why are women on FB posting about the state of their hair and the colour of their bra?

Well, it seems it is in aid of breast cancer awareness whatever that means.

Apparently by posting comments loaded with sexual innuendo about the state of my hair (on top, loose and messy, on the side – I forget the exact ones), and the colour of my bra – or none if I am not wearing one – I am helping to raise awareness of breast cancer.

What sort of awareness? That it exists? Is there really anyone in the literate world who is not aware of a) breast cancer b) any other form of cancer? Or who hasn’t personally met someone who has been diagnosed with cancer?

Naturally the facebook comments have been jokey and loaded – so to speak. This, is not helping anyone with breast cancer. Nor is it helping to prevent breast cancer. It is something that people seem to be joining in because it is a laugh and it has the magic word ‘cancer’ so therefore it must be good to join in.

A few comments, and a few facts:

Why raise ‘awareness’ of breast cancer before any other cancer?

If this is about sending people for mammograms – there is no point sending people at low risk for screening.

In the UK, the original breast screening programme was set up for women aged 50-65. Women older than 65 could continue to go for screening but would not be routinely invited. The programme has now changed to include routine invitations to women up to age 70, and will be extended further to include women aged 47-73.

But the basic screening programme is targeted at the age group of women who are most likely to develop breast cancer ie over 50s. So, by and large, sending anyone much younger for mammograms is not helpful.

Screening does NOT prevent cancer. It may, and can usually detect, either cancer, or pre-cancerous changes, ie some changes in cells that may lead to cancer.

When there is a finite budget, screaming for screening for everyone, for every cancer under the sun, is quite frankly my dear, unrealistic.

And as a UK NHS cancer budget holder in the past, my money would have been spent on providing treatment for people with cancer, not providing screening programmes for low risk groups of people.

How would you feel? You are diagnosed with cancer and told you can’t have some expensive chemotherapy drug because the money has gone on extending the screening programme? Can’t have everything in this world. And especially in the health services.

So, stop screaming for cancer screening programmes and thinking they will get you out of a hole. They won’t.

What will help is:

1) Don’t smoke. This will decrease your chances of getting lung cancer, heart disease, and a shit load of other things as well.

2) Eat fresh food. Preferably vegetables and fruit. (And legumes). Yes, I know. This involves preparing and cooking them. They don’t come out of easy fix plastic bags from the deep freeze in the supermarket. Cut down on the meat. And those HUGE really good VFM portions. Great value for money when they clog up your arteries and your colon huh?

3) Use condoms – this will reduce the chance of women becoming infected with HPV. If a woman already has HPV then using a condom will reduce the chances of that infection developing into pre-cancerous changes. Oops, forgot to say that HPV is a good indicator of developing cervical cancer.

4) Stay out of the midday sun – and any other strong sun too. If you go out in it, wear sun screen, better still, wear a hat and cover up. That means long sleeved clothes and trousers. Yeah, you wont get a beautiful tan. You won’t burn and peel either. And you are far less likely to get malignant melanoma ie not very nice skin cancer.

Now, I can write a lot more about cancer. But for now you are spared. Just do not tell me that the colour of my underwear and my hair is remotely helpful in prevention, diagnosis or cure of cancer. Clear?



3 comments on “Long, wild, loose, messy, and all the rest of it

  1. This had all passed me by on Facebook to be honest, suffice to say, I will have to read a bit more about it before I comment any more. I tend to pop in and out of F.B., as you know I think it is TWOTD. Except I am have not flounced off it yet, (yet!!!!) this year so far.Although I cannot imagine posting about what underwear I am wearing to be honest even if it was for charity awareness or whatever it is called. Not keen generally on these Raising Awareness things, like you say, we are all pretty aware of Cancer – friends, relatives etc. My mind is numb from the handiwork I have been doing this arvo,I will have to give you more benefit of my "wisdom" tomorrow, when I can think out a more reasoned comment.Jx


  2. I guess people do these things with the best intentions, but not really giving it much thought.It is a bizarre way of 'raising awareness' and like you, I would not think anyone would need to have their awareness raised. Cancer seems to be so prevalent.I don't think anyone who took part in it on Facebook really sat down and thought deeply about "why" or "what" they were doing. Kinda like sheep I guess, just followed each other.I tend not to read too much on Facebook – but will watch for this kind of bizarrarity in future. Have to admit though, this had passed me by.I get irritated immensely by people wearing bangles and ribbons, which represent one charity or another, it all seems to be "competitive" charity concern.I give to certain charities, but I don't shout it to the heavens by wearing so called 'friendship bracelets and ribbons".That's all I have to say. Jx


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