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Men's Health Week and Cancer Research

(updated)

Peter Zohrab 2017

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  1. It's Men's Health Week, so I'd like to quote this excerpt from the textbook "Introduction to Biotechnology" by Thieman &Palladino:

 

"Scientists are particularly interested in generic changes that trigger normal cells to become cancerous cells in the brain, mammary glands, ovaries, pancreas, liver and lungs because cancers of these organs affect large numbers of Americans." (page 266)

Please note (because I may want to refer back to this point) that Thieman &Palladino do not give any references to support that assertion (as far as I can recall).

  1. Although that book does mention the PSA test (which is notoriously unreliable) for detecting prostate cancer, it is noteworthy that the above list includes two predominantly female organs (mammary glands and ovaries), but no male organs.

  2. If you go to https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2017/cancer-facts-and-figures-2017.pdf you will see that women have 40,610 deaths annually from breast cancer and 14,080 deaths annually from ovarian cancer.

  3. Although men do have 460 deaths annually from breast cancer, they also have 26,730 deaths annually from prostate cancer, 410 deaths annually from testicular cancer and 360 deaths annually from cancer of the penis and other genital cancers.

  4. So, according to Thieman &Palladino, it appears that US scientists are "particularly interested" in ovarian cancer (14,080 deaths annually) but not particularly interested in prostate cancer (26,730 deaths annually).

  5. So US medical science seems to be more concerned with women's health than with men's health.

  6. Update 1: However, Dr. David Ackerley pointed out to me in the online discussion forum for the BTEC101 course which he taught at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017 that US cancer research funding has actually been allocated to ovarian cancer ($23,926,000) and prostate cancer ($40,227,752) in a proportion which roughly reflects the above numbers of deaths. See: Current Grants by Cancer Type.

  1. Update 2: Nevertheless, the same webpage Current Grants by Cancer Type also shows that breast cancer research ($90,376,000) receives more than twice the amount of funding that prostate cancer research ($40,227,752) receives, despite the fact that number of US female breast cancer deaths is only 21.2 per 100,000 women per year, which is roughly the same as the US (male) prostate cancer death rate (20.1 per 100,000 men per year). I will not try to explain the fact that the statistics in paragraphs 3 and 4 (above) seems to show a much greater difference between the breast cancer and prostate cancer death rates -- except to point out that there are more women than men in the USA.

  2. Update 3: Although Dr. Ackerley was quick to attempt to "correct" my point in paragraph 5 (above) by providing the information in paragraph 7 (above), as far as I know he did not respond to my posting of the information in paragraph 8 (above), which, in the context of other facts, I take to be evidence of his unscientific, Feminist mindset on such matters.

  3. The typical line you hear in the media is that men are not concerned enough with their own health, but the other side of the coin is that Society is not concerned enough with men's health.

 

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6 August 2017

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