Remedial Course

Read something in the blogosphere that made me remember writing this. Might have to repost now and again until at least the media gets it right–internet “experts” never will.

Somebody Needs to Buy These Media People a Dictionary

So I’m watching GMA Friday morning and there is a brief segment about this co-host on Dancing With the Stars, Brooke Burke-Charvet. Now, I do not watch the Dancing show, know nothing of this woman, and have not bothered to look into her story on the internet, not interested enough. My complaint is the way the dark-haired female reporter, and her producers at GMA, presented the info. This Burke-Charvet woman has or had thyroid cancer, and is doing some promo thing on some health magazine about how her cancer scare means she no longer worries about looking young, and she wants people to live healthy, exercise (the usual crap), and get check-ups with doctors. Now, I do not know if it was Burke-Charvet who actually said people need to engage in preventative practices by getting annual check-ups, I will give her the benefit of the doubt. But certainly the GMA reporter said that the idea behind the campaign is for people to prevent health issues, like cancer, by going to their doctor. Apparently this Burke-Charvet has always lived healthy and had no symptoms, and it was on a routine visit to her doctor her thyroid cancer was detected.

In what universe is early detection equal to prevention?! Going to the doctor and learning she had cancer did NOT prevent cancer. She already had the cancer, therefore, it was NOT prevented. It was detected early, and that is great, but it was not prevented no matter how the media spins it.

This is the kind of thing the media does that drives me crazy. Throw around words like “prevent” so people feel in control or empowered. How many times will I have to write this? Some things are out of our control, if cancer had a motto it would be “shit happens”. This idea we can control every single thing that happens to us, cancer included, is just extreme hubris.

It is important for the media to get this language of cancer right. By suggesting to viewers that “prevention” is within our grasp just by getting regular medical check-ups is damn near negligent. I repeat, if a regular doctor’s visit (as in a visit not instigated by symptoms), reveals the presence of cancer, that is EARLY DETECTION, not PREVENTION.

The media needs to pull their collective act together. I am especially annoyed this segment was on GMA, a show featuring a news anchor with well documented bouts of cancer. She and her cast mates should know this difference all too well. Shame on you, GMA.

Preemptive Strike

So a week after the Big Announcement I see a blurb about how mothers likely to get post-partum depression can be identified by genetic markers. No mention in the blurb of how to prevent it (I guess not having kids). Of course, any prevention would be dangerous to the fetus I’m sure, so prevention is probably out of the question. Perhaps the treatments currently in place are not a big deal (but I doubt it), don’t know, never been pregnant, and never will, not going to look further into it.

It was the way the information was presented that irked me. Perhaps it is the way, and the amount, and the types of information I consume these days. It’s like science is going “hey look, we can tell you this horrible thing is going to happen to you!” Uh, thanks? It’s like going to the world’s worst psychic, hearing about your impending doom, yet the psychic is pleased with himself for being able to see the future in the cards or crystal ball. He’s an expert at what he does, you should be happy you know your future, what’s the matter with you?

Not saying science or gene research is stupid and should be stopped, I just wish other searches in science were keeping up, so the impending doom can be averted. If you could know the date and nature of your end, do you want to know it? Ugh, forget it, I’m too tired to get into some deep, meaningful, philosophical discussion—I just want to stop my cancer from coming back.

It almost no longer matters to me if they identify the gene mutation that caused my cancer. For starters, I already have cancer, so I can only prevent more cancer. And then for those who don’t have cancer yet, the prevention offered in a word, sucks.

I KNOW I’m not the only one who thinks options like preventative mastectomy and Tamoxifen prescriptions are awful. Why are they awful? Because they are cancer treatments, and treatment sucks. Seems to me a perk of prevention of cancer should, ya know, be the avoidance of treatment.

Is it just me, or are preventative mastectomy and preventative Tamoxifen regimens preemptive strikes masquerading as prevention?

I want something else.

Update on earlier post

In the comments on my post Somebody Needs to Buy These Media People a Dictionary, it was suggested I contact Good Morning America or ABC about the difference between prevention and early detection. I did, that Friday, and have heard nothing.

Granted, I am a “nobody” to them, with no special knowledge of the story. And they’ve drawn a little fire for their coverage of the Ohio rape verdict, although not as much as CNN, so they might have their hands full right now.

But they could not be more wrong. I am not a nobody with no special knowledge of that story.  I am a viewer/consumer, maybe just one consumer, but I obviously have no problems pointing out their failure, and I hope others out there in tumorville who agree with me have no problem spreading the word when the media so blatantly gets it wrong. And no, I don’t have “special” knowledge of cancer, or of words like prevention and early detection. I do have common sense & the ability to read.

Attention all media outlets: stop insulting your audience. I’m holding you accountable.

Attention to those of you who agree with me, send complaints to media stories you know to be wrong, complain on you blog, do what you can. To paraphrase the Beastie Boys, “make some noise if you’re with me”

Somebody Needs to Buy These Media People a Dictionary

So I’m watching GMA Friday morning and there is a brief segment about this co-host on Dancing With the Stars, Brooke Burke-Charvet. Now, I do not watch the Dancing show, know nothing of this woman, and have not bothered to look into her story on the internet, not interested enough. My complaint is the way the dark-haired female reporter, and her producers at GMA, presented the info. This Burke-Charvet woman has or had thyroid cancer, and is doing some promo thing on some health magazine about how her cancer scare means she no longer worries about looking young, and she wants people to live healthy, exercise (the usual crap), and get check-ups with doctors. Now, I do not know if it was Burke-Charvet who actually said people need to engage in preventative practices by getting annual check-ups, I will give her the benefit of the doubt. But certainly the GMA reporter said that the idea behind the campaign is for people to prevent health issues, like cancer, by going to their doctor. Apparently this Burke-Charvet has always lived healthy and had no symptoms, and it was on a routine visit to her doctor her thyroid cancer was detected.

In what universe is early detection equal to prevention?! Going to the doctor and learning she had cancer did NOT prevent cancer. She already had the cancer, therefore, it was NOT prevented. It was detected early, and that is great, but it was not prevented no matter how the media spins it.

This is the kind of thing the media does that drives me crazy. Throw around words like “prevent” so people feel in control or empowered. How many times will I have to write this? Some things are out of our control, if cancer had a motto it would be “shit happens”. This idea we can control every single thing that happens to us, cancer included, is just extreme hubris.

It is important for the media to get this language of cancer right. By suggesting to viewers that “prevention” is within our grasp just by getting regular medical check-ups is damn near negligent. I repeat, if a regular doctor’s visit (as in a visit not instigated by symptoms), reveals the presence of cancer, that is EARLY DETECTION, not PREVENTION.

The media needs to pull their collective act together. I am especially annoyed this segment was on GMA, a show featuring a news anchor with well documented bouts of cancer. She and her cast mates should know this difference all too well. Shame on you, GMA.