The politics of the breast versus the politics of the prostate
Why does breast cancer receive over 600 percent more funding than prostate cancer despite men being almost as likely to die from prostate cancer? Is it possible that we pretty much know what we need to know about prostate problems? Let’s look.
ITEM In the 1920s. a new operation for enlarged prostates replaced an old one. For sixty years no one studied the records to determine whether the new operation was as beneficial as the old one When these studies were done, they found the new operator! resulted in a 45 percent greater chance of dying in the five years after surgery. Finally, ri 1989. seventy years later, the data were published in the New Englond journal of Medicine.60
From prostate cancer research we know that a man with a vasectomy might be four times more likely to have prostate cancer than a man without a vasectomy61 A similar connection has been found in mice. Despite these findings, the shortage of research funds has not allowed scientists to explore whether prostate cancer is caused by vasectomies or by something correlated with the vasectomy (e. g., testosterone level).
Similarly, testicular cancer Is one of the most common cancers in men aged 15 to 34. When detected early, it has an 87 percent survival rate.62 But it is only women whom we educate to do early detection of their cancer.63
If we educated men to go for routine rectal exams for prostate cancer prevention and to do routine testicular self-exams – the way we educate women to do routine breast selfexams – we would keep teas of thousands of men alive just as we are now keeping tens of thousands of women alive.