Today I asked my colleague why he thinks in Sweden we had a campaign for raising money for breast cancer research which last night culminated in a flashy Rosa Bandet Gala (The Pink Ribbon Gala) sent on one of the state TV-channels but nothing similar for prostate cancer research. He didn’t think long: “Because it is a universal perception that it is more pity for suffering women than for suffering men”.
Don’t know which of the observations made me more thoughtful.
According to the report from the Swedish Cancer Foundation for 2005:
- The fifth part of all diagnosed cancer cases in Sweden in 2005 were the cases of prostate cancer.
- In the last two decades the number of cancer cases in Sweden has been steadily increasing. The increase is on average about 0,8 per cent for men and 0,5 per cent for women in 2005 (numbers are adjusted for increased population longevity).
- Prostate cancer is most usual form of cancer for men in Sweden (about 36 % of all diagnosed cancer cases in 2005), while breast cancer is the common form of cancer for women (about 30%).
Can it be that prostate sounds less “attractive” than breast and therefore gets less coverage in media? (Sorry, guys! Wrong organ!) On Swedish Cancer Foundation website women are encouraged to “get to know their breasts”, checking them for lumps. A few images of a woman gently touching her round (at least C-cup), generously covered in oil breasts… I hardly can imagine an image of a man doing the same thing (getting to know his prostate?) voluntarily.
So what about a campaign? Apparently, there are less popular parts of human body. For starters, not many of us had a chance to get acquainted with this hidden part of the male reproductive system slightly larger than a walnut. While the chest area is more exposed for admiration and possible caresses, prostate is hiding in some place dark and unromantic: under the bladder. It is hard to connect to something one doesn’t see. Still I say prostate deserves attention and a ribbon of its own! What color? I don’t have to think long, thanks to the ages of prejudices and traditional thinking once again re-confirmed by the choice of color for a nation-wide campaign. And isn’t blue a nice color anyway? Still, no blue ribbons in sight!