Monday 11 December 2017

Imbalance could mean difference between life and death for sufferers

THE pink ribbon has become the instantly recognisable symbol of breast cancer awareness, sported by glamorous celebrities such as Grainne Seoige (pictured). It is a tribute to campaigners who have fought for decades for more investment for research into the causes of the disease and its treatment, as well as the need to raise the awareness of women about symptoms and screening.

The men's equivalent is the Movember campaign, where men grow moustaches to raise money for male cancer research.

Although it has persuaded actors and singers to sport temporary taches, it is still the poor relation when it comes to generating publicity and funds.

The contrast illustrates the gulf that exists in the level of prominence and research funding between women's and men's cancers.

Until the figures are fully analysed, most people are unaware of the imbalance.

Research into breast cancer has raced ahead, and this in turn generates further studies. There have been so many breakthroughs that researchers are hungry to push beyond even more boundaries.

Nobody would begrudge a cent to research that would bring new knowledge of female cancers. But at a time when the funding cake is getting smaller because of cuts in government grants and public donations, ensuring a fair share is even more imperative.

What is remarkable about the figures uncovered in today's article is how neglected research into testicular cancer is.

It has a good cure rate, but that in itself cannot explain its lack of profile.

There is another hierarchy in cancer research that means some forms of the disease, such as pancreatic cancer, are also down the funding league.

Although fewer people are struck by these diseases, the survival rate is low.

It is an inequality that impacts on people's overall experience and survival or otherwise of the disease.

Irish Independent

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