Beating the Bounds is one of the few blogs I follow regularly (although I’m catching up, having given up reading blogs as well as writing all summer).  It is about “walking, thinking about walking, reading about walking…….and maybe other stuff” in England.  It has wonderful pictures of nature large and small and is always a delight.

I had just heaved a sigh of relief that another Breast Cancer Awareness Month had passed, and been cheered to find that I am not the only one who feels that way about it, when the latest Beating the Bounds popped up with a post about another cancer (and other fatal illness) support foundation, which apparently sponsors an annual fund-raising climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. We have developed a whole culture around fundraising for illness (not health…)

Then, I had a Facebook cause request for a cause called “Help Cure Cancer.”  When I followed the links investigating, I found that this was sponsored by something called “Dollars4Downloads,” whose download agreement says in part “You understand and agree that Dollars4downloads.org is a direct distributor/provider of the myshoppinggenie owned by mynetuniverse .”  And My Shopping Genie is a pyramid scheme.

Even before I had breast cancer, I found the endless appeals wearing and the shameless commercial exploitation of breast cancer offensive.  I never liked pink much – wearing most shades make me look green – and the association of being “pretty in pink” and a serious and sometimes fatal disease is disgusting.  And imagine if we had fundraisers for prostate cancer all decked out in baby blue.

Beyond the support of a whole fundraising industry and sympathy-based marketing, the cancer industry especially is based on finding ever more expensive pharmaceutical cures, rather than on research that would determine causes.  Breast cancer in particular seems to be environmentally related, and as everyone knows, rates have been skyrocketing.  A  study just released “links the risk of breast cancer — the second leading cause of death from cancer in women — to traffic-related air pollution.” Cleaning products and cosmetics, both in the home and in wastewater,  have been linked to cancer.  Many studies have shown links between various kinds of pollution, products we don’t normally think of as pollutants, and cancer and other illnesses.  It is the way we live that kills us; we should pay more attention to that, and less to feel-good marketing.

PS:  From this post on NewAmerica.net this morning – The Right Way to Reform Healthcare :

“As things stand today, for each penny the National Institutes of Health spends on Alzheimer’s research, we spend more than $3.50 on caring for people with the condition.”

How about researching prevention as well as treatment?

PPS: From a Science Daily report of a study that has found people over 55 are much sicker in the US than England, but are only equally or less likely to die.

“The United States’ health problem is not fundamentally a health care or insurance problem, at least at older ages,” Banks said. “It is a problem of excess illness and the solution to that problem may lie outside the health care delivery system. The solution may be to alter lifestyles or other behaviors.”

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