What I saw at the gym

I don’t usually see daytime TV, but it was on at the gym when I was there this morning, and I caught some of the ITV “Breastmates” campaign (= team up with friends and remind each other to do breast checks). I was dismayed.

Of course we should do self-examinations – can’t argue with that. But this is a facile campaign. Firstly, I take issue with the silly visual images they kept showing of anything that is round and can come in pairs – melons, towel hooks, cupcakes – superimposed cheekily (as the programme makers think) on womens’ bodies.

Breast cancer is not a joke. Breasts are not objects of fun for public consumption. I can’t tell you how insensitive and inappropriate this succession of images seems to me, as a women who has had a mastectomy. Why don’t they show a woman with just one melon or cupcake? Or with a slashed or lopsided melon/cupcake on one or both sides? Because it would be less fun and look less good, that’s why. Because it would remind everybody what treatment  for breast cancer (even early breast cancer, remember) actually entails.

More importantly, I take issue with the oversimplified message being conveyed. It may seem logical, but to say that finding and treating breast cancer early is always the best course of action is simply not true. It is way, way more complicated than that —-