I wish I had breast cancer

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  • I wish I had breast cancer
  • iolo
    Premier Icon theotherjonv

    They’ll have calculated that they’ll cop flak for it, but the intent is to raise the profile and it’ll sure do that.


    Seems fair enough to me – I learnt from that.


    I think it makes sense, it’s hard hitting and let’s not forgot if Aids hadn’t come along we most probably would have had a cure for most cancers, buy now!

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Pretty tasteless but I can see it being very effective. TBF I can deal with it offending some people, if it saves some other people’s lives.

    Premier Icon tonyg2003

    Kinda shocking but pancreatic does have a terrible survival rate.

    Insensitive to people not surviving breast cancer.


    I wish for no cancer, my partner currently going through chemo for breast cancer……


    Breast cancer is horrible – my partner is a survivor and I’m thankful to modern medicine that she continues to be awesome today.

    Pancreatic cancer is horrible, the survival rates are grim and something needs to be done…but the Daily Heil fodder leaves me a little sick.


    Its actually a rip-off of the Harrison’s fund ad from last year. Whilst the original ad was shocking initially, I think its most successful at getting the reader to really put themselves in the position of the sufferer (or in this case the parent)

    Harrisons Fund ad

    I met Alex last year and a number of us did Barcelona ironman to raise money for Harrison’s fund.

    Here’s what alex had to say about the decision to run the ad

    harrisons fund blog


    if Aids hadn’t come along we most probably would have had a cure for most cancers, buy now!



    Those are real people in the video/images with pancreatic cancer not actors, they wanted to do the campaign as survival rates (3-4%) have not changed for 30 years yet other cancers have all increased rates.
    Shocking? Yes but if it gets people to put their hands in their pockets then it’s worked.



    I think blooddonor was suggesting that AIDS swallowed research funding that cancer would other wise have got.

    Premier Icon leftyboy

    Good intention or not it’s still highly offensive – my first wife died of breast cancer aged 28, my second wife had surgery and chemo a year ago for breast cancer.

    The real offence is that shock tatics need to be used!


    Just tried to click through to the in the OP post and got this message
    Fair enough I think

    No Daily Mail
    I’m sorry but we don’t allow direct links to the Daily Mail on our website as we find it an abhorrent publication.

    For an explanation of why this is we can’t think of a better illustration than Stephen Fry’s personal account of his dealings with this publication here. We would encourage you to read this before continuing on to the Daily Mail website.

    Edric 64

    I find it offensive .I have a friend who posts here who`s wife is bravely battling breast cancer and I wouldnt wish it or any other cancer on any family

    Premier Icon martinhutch

    Jockeying for funding against other more common types of cancer just looks undignified, and given that 41,000 women are diagnosed with the breast cancer every year, someone who’s just received a life-threatening diagnosis or just lost a relative will see that ad and be devastated by it.

    There are lots of reasons why pancreatic cancer has such low survival rates – lack of research funding is just one of them.


    to have to resort to tactics like that is a sad, very sad.
    I’m sure it’s not nearly as common as other cancers.


    I watched my father in law die of pancreatic cancer. He was dead less than six months after diagnosis. It was horrible to watch.

    I think the advert makes a good (if a little insensitive) point.

    We have had lots of breast cancer in our family, all of which was survived, so that might cloud my opinion

    Premier Icon theotherjonv

    Offensive is a subjective term, clearly it is offensive because some have been offended by it, but I am not. Despite having a friend who died of breast cancer spreading to her brain last September.

    The problem is that it’s an emotive subject which causes immediate reactions, and we’re looking at this from the position of people who either don’t have cancer, or have/had types of cancer with far better prognoses than this type. Put yourself in the shoes of the people in the adverts, with survival expectations orders of magnitude below other types of cancers. They are the ones saying they wish they had breast cancer (or testicular, there’s a men’s version too) – and the unspoken but understood text in the advert is ‘instead of this one’. For them to wish they had a more treatable form is not offensive – if anything to deny them the right to that wish is offensive.

    Insensitive might be a better word. But as i said before they’ll have calculated that the offence / insensitivity is being countered by the publicity this generates.

    I’m sure it’s not nearly as common as other cancers

    8500 diagnosed per year approx. 1/6 incidence rate of breast cancer, 4x the incidence rate of testicular. 5th biggest cancer killer. And when you convert that to mortality – there may have been 50K incidences of breast cancer in the UK, but because it’s often caught early and treatable, there’s a 77% 10 year survival rate, hence ‘only’ 11K death per year from breast cancer. There are 8500 diagnoses of pancreatic and around 8200 deaths each year. Your chances of seeing out 5 years is <4% and 10 years <3%

    I’d rather not have cancer at all, but if / when i get one, i hope it’s a treatable one.

    david jey

    There are lots of reasons why pancreatic cancer has such low survival rates – lack of research funding is just one of them.

    The main issue being a pancreatic tumour is tucked away deep inside the body, often growing undetected, with the sufferer feeling no symptoms or ill effects for years. By the time it’s discovered people often have such advanced disease. With any cancer, the early it is detected the easier it is to treat. Another sad and difficult truth with something like pancreatic cancer is that the symptoms you’d notice first (heartburn, abdominal pain, to name but a couple) could all be caused by 101 things, so it can often by difficult to diagnose, adding to the problems of timely detection.

    Breast cancer is, by comparison, easy to spot as it (often, not always) manifests as a lump in the breast. Obviously you’re never going to your GP and saying ‘there’s a suspicious lump in my pancreas doctor’.

    let’s not forgot if Aids hadn’t come along we most probably would have had a cure for most cancers, buy now!

    I don’t think we would. The best thing for ‘curing’ something like pancreatic cancer is to catch it before it is too late (for complicated biochemical reasons, I sadly don’t believe we’ll ever be able to successfully treat a lot of advanced tumours). The technology to do this simply doesn’t exist at the moment, and is probably decades away at best.


    Offensive or not it is working, hence the discussions going on here!

    Premier Icon martinhutch

    I’ve really got no problem with people who have pancreatic cancer thinking or expressing those kinds of feelings, but harnessing that as a blunt PR tool for diverting funding cash away from other cancer charities, it strikes me as having crossed the line.

    I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosed when I was 21. In retrospect, the cure rates even then (early 90s) were exceptionally high, probably better than the survival rates for breast cancer now. However it is hard to rationalise it that way when you’re told you have any type of cancer, even one with a 99% cure rate like testicular cancer. So the advert’s message cannot help but upset a lot of vulnerable people.

    Pancreatic cancer is so intractable because it is pretty asymptomatic until a very late stage, very aggressive, surgery is usually not an option, and tends to affect older patients, who are physically more frail and unable to tolerate high-dose chemotherapy. In addition it is much harder to screen for compared with breast and bowel cancer.

    It is underfunded, but that’s not the whole story.


    A friend of mine died from pancreatic cancer on New Years Day. Diagnosed in July, no possibility of treatment.
    At the risk of offending people – male cancer research and treatment is not funded anywhere near as well as those for women. Maybe there should be a funding shift?

    Premier Icon martinhutch

    I think it’s fine to have a debate on funding imbalance in cancer research, but it can sound awfully brutal when you start weighing one patient against another.

    For example, the most heavily-funded (per case) cancer is leukaemia. Each patient ‘gets’ more than four times the spend compared with each breast cancer patient. Is that fair? I’d say it may well be, given that the bulk of cases are in the under 20s, and the potential life years saved is much higher.

    By the same token, do prostate patients merit the same spend as breast cancer patients, given that the bulk of mortality in pc patients is in the over 80s, much higher than bc?

    It all comes down to how much impact every pound can have.

    Premier Icon kimbers

    Have spent the last 10+ years working in cancer research probably 6 years working for breakthrough brestcancer, who are one of the most effective (at fundraising) cancer charities.
    In some ways I agree with what the ad is trying to do, breast cancer raises funding out of proportion to its seriousness, compared to other cancers and as a result breast cancer treatments and survival rates have improved dramatically in the last decade. The reasons why are complex, but campaigns in papers like the Mail have raised awareness greatly and it is very emotive thinking about the potential for your mum or even wife to have breast cancer.
    In its ignorance the AIDS comment belies a good point there are over 200 types of cancer and their frequency, aggressiveness and efficacy of treatment can all vary greatly, between the cancers themselves as well as gender, race and individuals.
    The last few decades have seen a lot of money pumped into cancer research and the treatments for some types have improved massively, of course a lot of this is dependent on local NHS capabilities, ease of detecion, screening stratagies etc.
    Coronary heart disease is a bigger killer than cancer yet research into this receives less funding.

    There are other things to consider, lifestyle changes are potentially a massively effective way to reduce the ‘Tidal Wave of Cancer’ we are facing. Realistically this will require legislation, the smoking ban in pubs was a great start but again this government has consistently bowed to business interests over this on traffic light food labeling, minimum alcohol pricing, lifting the ban on schools (academies) selling junk food in vending machines, selling playing fields, reducing PE lessons, funding for community projects etc etc
    Not to mention that our economy revolves around pumping carcinogens into the air exposing ourselves and our families to them day in, day out.

    The most important message to take is that cancer charities are fighting over an ever diminishing pot of funding, the advances made in the last few years have been, in part, thanks to some massive government funded projects The Human Genome Project being probably the biggest example.
    Sadly the current cuts in government funding has made things very difficult and the legacy of this will be a slow down in improvements that we will see in the coming years (research is very much a long term thing, requiring foresight way beyond the next election).
    Research councils have become very guarded of their funds, charity donations have declined and the huge cuts to Universities and the NHS- where the research is carried out has made it extremely difficult. Lots of redundancies and the constant scrabbling for cash to pay for equipment, reagents and salaries is very demoralising, I know of 2 well regarded professors not taking a salary just to keep their projects and staff going and I spent 6 months unemployed last year.

    the sad thing is that if the will(money) is there then things could improve
    this is the total investment in all R&D


    and its not just about keeping loved ones healthy a healthy population is a productive one

    Using the methods of their earlier calculations,
    Murphy and Topel estimate that the total economic
    value to Americans of reductions in mortality from
    cardiovascular disease averaged $1.5 trillion annually
    in the 1970–1990 period. So if just one-third of the
    gain came from medical research, the return on the
    investment averaged $500 billion a year. That’s on the
    Chapter One
    Introduction Medical Research: What’s it worth? Estimating the economic benefits from medical research in the UK 9
    order of 20 times as large as average annual
    spending on medical research – by any benchmark
    an astonishing return for the investment.
    (Funding First, 2000, p. 8)

    sadly our government really doesnt understand

    “With today’s flat cash commitment to the science budget, inflation is set to erode the science budget by a cumulative sum of £276m from now until 2015/16 (6%). Flat cash is far from flat.”

    Public science spending in Britain currently runs at about 0.65% of GDP, compared with an average of 0.8% for the G8 nations.

    China is aiming to spend 2.5% of its GDP on research by 2020, South Korea is targeting 5% by 2022 and Brazil 2.5% by the same year.

    Compared to the OECD group of developed nations, Britain’s science spend is 7th in absolute terms but only 25th in percentage terms.

    anyway better do some work now


    Small charity misjudges things?

    Or small charity uses tiny media spend to reach new people and grow profile in relevant audience?

    We may never know…

    EDIT – can’t link directly to page, search for 1137689

    Premier Icon theotherjonv

    It’s a brutal and emotive subject for sure. And it does look undignified when different types of cancer have to ‘compete’ against each other for charitable donations and funding $

    Weighing patients against each other – that really is a minefield.


    At the risk of offending people – male cancer research and treatment is not funded anywhere near as well as those for women. Maybe there should be a funding shift?

    A funding shift from breast cancer to prostate cancer – or from the arms industry to prostate cancer?

    “I wish I needed to sell unnecessary weapons systems to dodgy subsaharan countries”.

    Big Dave

    I lost my mother to breast cancer but I have to say I’m not offended or upset by the campaign. Anything that raises awareness of cancer can only be good. Sometimes a strong, even offensive, message is needed to give people the jolt they need to do something/ donate/ get some symptoms checked out.

    Cancer in any form is a terrible disease and sometimes needs bold actions to deal with it.

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