Thursday, August 15, 2013

Awareness Gets Me What?

There was a fascinating article about the scam of the Susan G. Komen foundation; the media hypes breast cancer awareness, while results show that the mortality rate from this disease has been relatively unchanged.
Breast-cancer survivor Peggy Orenstein wrote "Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer." The information she presents is gripping, but what I want to excerpt is this segment: 
Breast cancer in your breast doesn’t kill you; the disease becomes deadly when it metastasizes, spreading to other organs or the bones. Early detection is based on the theory, dating back to the late 19th century, that the disease progresses consistently, beginning with a single rogue cell, growing sequentially and at some invariable point making a lethal leap. Curing it, then, was assumed to be a matter of finding and cutting out a tumor before that metastasis happens.
The thing is, there was no evidence that the size of a tumor necessarily predicted whether it had spread. According to Robert Aronowitz, a professor of history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of “Unnatural History: Breast Cancer and American Society,” physicians endorsed the idea anyway, partly out of wishful thinking, desperate to “do something” to stop a scourge against which they felt helpless. So in 1913, a group of them banded together, forming an organization (which eventually became the American Cancer Society) and alerting women, in a precursor of today’s mammography campaigns, that surviving cancer was within their power. By the late 1930s, they had mobilized a successful “Women’s Field Army” of more than 100,000 volunteers, dressed in khaki, who went door to door raising money for “the cause” and educating neighbors to seek immediate medical attention for “suspicious symptoms,” like lumps or irregular bleeding.
The campaign worked — sort of. More people did subsequently go to their doctors. More cancers were detected, more operations were performed and more patients survived their initial treatments. But the rates of women dying of breast cancer hardly budged. All those increased diagnoses were not translating into “saved lives.” That should have been a sign that some aspect of the early-detection theory was amiss. Instead, surgeons believed they just needed to find the disease even sooner.
According to statistics, early-awareness is not the key to "fight" breast cancer. But physicians "felt helpless," and were desperate to act, even with no factual basis to back up their awareness campaign.

It made me think, funnily enough, of the current state of "shidduch crisis" hysteria. There is no definite proof of any such ailment. Suddenly this term has become an integral to contemporary jargon, despite the actual fact that we are the people of bashert. Any sort of romantic "destined" is off the table; individuals are blamed, the rising divorce rate is ignored, and Hashem as the divine Matchmaker has been outsourced. 

Jews were used to feeling helpless, once. We've been persecuted since before the destruction of the Temples; as we attempted to live modest lives without vitriolic anti-Semitism, we relied on Hashem as the only reliable means to keep us safe. 

Baruch Hashem, we now live in a land where we can finally call quite a few shots. We can march outdoors with an obvious kapul, tzitzis flying in the wind. We daven on public transportation. We demand from our councilman as to how we want our tax dollars spent.
We are not used to being helpless anymore. When we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot manipulate the results, the reaction should be, "I must rely on God." 

Instead there are articles and organizations and crazy people that insist God isn't needed. "Shidduch crisis, shidduch crisis, shidduch crisis" is parroted on a loop, terrorizing the impressionable to leap before they look.
Because physicians felt helpless, they initiated a misguided awareness campaign. Girls and women have been harassed into believing they are all ticking time-bombs for specifically breast cancer, while its rates are no higher, or even less, than many other illnesses, both female- and human-specific. Only recently has the biggest killer, heart disease, gotten a bus ad.

Thanks to the "shidduch crisis awareness campaign," everybody is "aware." But what has changed, exactly? What has it helped? What are the "results"? There are still "older" singles, along with plenty of engagements happening every day. Just take a look at OnlySimchas, which posts a mere fraction of them.

An awareness campaign is needed in another area: There are times when one has to realize one's limitations. My limitation here is that I cannot have a spouse on demand. Han will show up when he is supposed to, no earlier, no later. As a Jew who believes that Hashem spends His day making shidduchim, then I have to leave Him to it.


Wondering Minds said...

*Spoiler Alert*
Han Solo won't show up until Leia Organa kisses her brother.

What do we learn?

Gotta make moves and big splashes, before finally finding the right one.

Princess Lea said...

Um, noooooo, Leia meets Han the same exact moment as she meets Luke (give or take a few seconds). I must say, as a commentary, you are blatantly prejudiced in your own favor.

Star Wars Freaks, attack! We have a philistine in our midst!

Wondering Minds said...

Rewind a second.

The phrase "won't show up" was meant not as a "meeting" but as a "person to be dating".

And not at all, my comment has nothing to do with anything I've done, just my thoughts.

Wondering Minds said...

(Want to hear a weird coincidence? And if not...I'm still gonna write it :) )

When I was closing my browser down, and closing out my ~9 tabs, I realized I had something open from earlier in the day, which I thought you would appreciate...especially after calling me out on the Star Wars stuff.

No, its not SPAM. And yes, it is awesome.

Princess Lea said...

I would say that the romance began when Han and Leia were stuck on the Falcon together with only a fur coat and two droids for company, no Luke as a third wheel.

That is pretty cool. But are you sure it's not spam?

Wondering Minds said...

I said that because the link looks like it can be fake...

The problem is, the more you say "It's not spam", the more it looks like spam...

Princess Lea said...

Don't mind me, I'll be running my anti-virus program . . .