Gender and Cancer

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Gender and Cancer. More and more persons are coming to recognize the unfairness of cancer research priorities at the National Institutes of Health.

Related Issues: Breast Cancer - imen, Breast Cancer - women, Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer

Gender & Cancer

Because of some women's action groups and organizations, more money is being spent on researching cancers which affect women and educating women about those cancers than is being spent on cancers which afflict men. The actions of such women's groups were admirable at one point. However, too many women have gotten wrapped up in "the cure for breast cancer." They have forgotten about the men.

The rate of cancers affecting women are typically declining or remaining level, particularly breast cancer. However, the rate of cancers affecting men are remaining the same or increasing because of inadequate funding. Yet, prostate cancer and breast cancer have nearly the same mortality rates for each gender. This is not equality. This is something that needs to be addressed.

While I was collecting information to present here I happened to notice something else... men are infected with cancers that make up the majority of cancer victims at higher rates than women are. I will not speculate why that is, there is plenty of information available for you to investigate on your own. But it is a point worth making notice of.

I encourage you to write to your political representatives and tell them that more money spent on researching cancer for one gender is not acceptable. More women's lives saved from breast cancer should not occur at the expense of more men dying from prostate and testicular cancer. While no one wants to take away money from researching any disease, it is possible to spread awareness and gain more money for other diseases which are lacking funds. And, if need be, balance the scales between the diseases which are afflicting women with those afflicting men.

Every time you support efforts to eradicate gynecological cancers, stop and remember the men too. Every time you wear a pink ribbon for breast cancer, wear a green one for prostate cancer too...because feminism is about equality, not ignorance.

• Since 1987, more women have died each year of lung cancer than breast cancer, which, for over 40 years, was the major cause of cancer death in women.

• Cervical cancer rates declined 45% between 1972-1974 and 1992-1994.

• Between 1950 and the late 1980s, breast cancer mortality was relatively stable. However, between 1990 and 1994, breast cancer mortality declined 5.6%, the largest short-term decline in over 40 years.

• Between 1989 and 1993, prostate cancer incidence rates increased 50%, then the incidence of prostate cancer declined in 1994. Experts cannot agree whether it will be remaining stable or increasing, but no one forsees the rates declining.

• $1,950 in public and private funds are spent on research for each prostate cancer death, while $12,200 is spent on research for each breast cancer death and $31,750 is spent for each AIDS death.

• The National Cancer Institute (NCI) spent $332.9 million on breast cancer and only $74 million on prostate cancer in 1997.

• The NCI budget for prostate cancer in 1998 is $84 million.

• Fiscal year 1998 funding for CDC prostate cancer initiatives is $3.9 million, down from fiscal year 1996 funding of $4.6 million.


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