breast cancer, this foreign concept

As it happens, all my questions were born from a film I watched last week during one of those empty schoolday evenings, Miss You Already, featuring a magnificent Toni Collette as a mother of two with metastatic breast cancer. Good film, definitely don’t watch it if you had a difficult day at work. And of course, after that, I had questions, many questions, some born from watching it, some from my previous experience in that glorious institution that is the NHS. (I would like to take the opportunity to say hi to my GP, Dr McManners, who is a really nice dude.)

Why does the NHS offer free, regular screenings only to women between the age of 50 and 70, and only every 3 years?
Does the NHS know that breast cancer can strike at any age (in 20% of the cases, before the age of 50), and that many women have died who could have been treated if the cancer had been spotted in time through (would you guess it) a regular screening?
Does the NHS know that breast cancer can develop and become metastatic in as little as a year?
Does the NHS Sexual Health Service, who blindly suggests to merrily start using the pill, that contraceptives increase drastically the risk of developing breast cancer (not to talk about depression, hormonal dysfunctions, hair loss)?
But most importantly: does the NHS know that, thanks to the NHS, the United Kingdom, one of the most civilised countries in the world is right on top of the European breast cancer death rates, with a difference of thousands of deaths compared to other European countries?

I am not making this up in a blast of feminist rage, by the way; it’s all nicely documented here. In my blast of European rage, however, I am stunned that the women of the United Kingdom (the same women who won WWI and WWII as nurses, factory workers, spies, telegraphists) are not protesting, fighting, screaming at those who decided this was the right way to handle the deadliest type of cancer for women worldwide.
What is it that keeps us at home, behind our doors, throwing vane #metoo’s, #genderpaygap’s and #tampontax’s into the black hole of the world wide web? If we were able to create a noisy wasp nest of those, can you imagine what kind of revolution we could trigger by getting out of our houses and say what we think out loud, to save nothing less than our own lives?

 

 

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