17
Apr
11

funding cancer research, one spud at a time

The pink ribbon on the label tells me that some of the money I would spend on this spud goes to cancer research. Yet nowhere on the label does it say that. So many questions the mind reels.

Is this a legitimate cancer research donation item? Or are they trading on our Pavolovian response to buy items with pink ribbons because we have been told it is helping to fund cancer research?

Should we be hocking any old thing to fund cancer research (spuds, travel mugs, t-shirts, etc)? Does this de-legitimize our attempts to advocate for federal research funds or does it all add up and every little bit helps?

What does our willingness to fund research through buying produce and trinkets and clothing tell the government? I think it says “Hey, keep your money, we girls will just buy food and pay for lifesaving research ourselves, don’t you worry about us big male-dominated corporate science.”

Who thought a trip to the grocery would be so interesting today?

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4 Responses to “funding cancer research, one spud at a time”


  1. 1 BBrother
    April 17, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Maybe it’s a Pink Ribbon Diet seal of approval?

  2. April 18, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Huh, I didn’t know about this. So much for my tirade. There’s even a book. I still don’t like the “put a ribbon on everything” trend.

  3. April 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Beth, I agree. And I know it’s totally curmudgeonly, but I also sort of resent the way breast cancer gets all the attention. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad that attention has resulted in benefits like mammograms being totally covered by most health insurance plans. But I always fear it overshadows (and maybe takes funds away from ) research and awareness of other kinds of cancer, some of which are more common.

  4. April 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I would agree Rosemary. If I remember correctly heart disease is the #1 killer of women, yet the vast majority of research dollars is spent on studies that only involve men.

    According to the CDC breast cancer is the leading type of cancer among women, but the second most deadly behind lung cancer. Perhaps that is due to the huge amount of money flowing in for research from all these little pink ribboned trinkets and spuds…more money, more research, more progress in treatments. One theory for this that I’ve read in an NYTimes essay is that when women know other women who die from breast cancer, they turn into lifelong fundraisers for the cause (presumably unlike similar experiences in men). Generalization? don’t know.

    I think as the feds start severely cutting research money in favor of giving it to Big Oil (paging Paul Ryan), less money will be available for “unpopular” cancers (e.g. colorectal which is in the top three cancer killers of women with lung and breast) and more fighting over smaller scraps will ensue. Do you fund the most popular cancers? or the most deadly?


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