Newsperson Andrea Mitchell has reported that she has breast cancer. You've probably already heard that. Odd that NBC http://www.nbcchicago.com/entertainment/television/Veteran-Reporter-Andrea-Mitchell-Reveals-She-Has-Breast-Cancer-129396688.html
uses the term reveals. Is it because it's cancer? Because is a sexy-type part of the body? Earliest stage. Terrific prognosis. She's aware of how lucky she is she found it early. She also says, This disease can be completely curable if you find it at the right time. I suppose it can be. But it isn't always.
It sounds like she dealt with the cancer within the last week, so it seems like it was small surgery, likely a lumpectomy. So she could have easily gotten away with not even mentioning it. It's to her credit that she does.
She urges women to get scanned. I can't fault her for not going on to talk about disparities in health care or potential environmental causes of breast cancer. She's the chief foreign affairs correspondent, a news person, and so can't go on the bandwagon. Though she does mention her long support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
She also noted that one in eight women in the U.S. are diagnosed with the disease. Which will be news to some people.
I have been remiss. A few weeks ago, the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern released its study A Profile of Health and Health Resources within Chicago’s 77 Communities. One of its five foci was racial/ethnic disparities in breast cancer mortality. It found that poor women and women without insurance are less likely to get mammograms, and also that these women were less likely to be told to get a mammogram. (Well, we all knew this, but here's the evidence.) It uses information from the Sinai Urban Institute, so that part of the report is old news. I also found out that Komen has funded the Chicago Breast Cancer Quality Consortium, which aims to identify deficiencies in quality and make improvements. I think that's good, and try as I might, I can't think of anything wrong with that. Which is a disappointment to me. See the report at http://chicagohealth77.org/uploads/Chicago-Health-Resources-Report-2011-0811.pdf
It's odd that the illustration of the section on breast cancer disparities is a photograph of five attractive young women in pink shirts with ribbons pinned on them and jeans. Their hands are held out, one on top of the other. They are, in order: black, white, brown, white, white. They look pretty happy despite the disparities. I suppose you could use a picture of a down-and-out woman in chemo as an illustration. Or a funeral. The photo that goes with the childhood obesity section is of mostly-white kids and adults--thin, all of them--walking in the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park. The question is, to raggedly paraphrase Bobby Kennedy: Do you show the problem as it is or do you show what the problem would look like fixed?
This is actually a serious question, because deep down, it's about motivating people to change, either themselves or the community. What inspires? (The answer is not the hang in there kitty cat pictured above.)