Illinois action blog

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Want to prevent breast cancer? Give up that Ph.D.

As we mark Breast Cancer Awareness month many of us consider prevention methods. Some of us tally up how many women in our family has been struck by this disease. We give thought to what we might do, as individuals, to keep the disease at bay. Well guess what? HT to the Feminist Peace Network for finding the cure in a conservative web community:

“It’s another instance of ideology trumping science. Emphasizing the benefits of early motherhood could—gasp!—encourage some young women to give marriage more priority, and postpone their demanding career. They might decide it’s a diamond they most want now, not a PhD.”
First let's take a moment to recover from our laughing fit. The right pulling the ideology over science card? I don't think any of us have time to go through all THEIR ideology stances (EC, HPV vaccine, evolution, on and on) so let's move on.

As the wonderful folks over at the Feminist Peace Network point out, yes, having kids younger & breast feeding them longer will lower your risk, but it's not the only way. And thankfully, our former National leader, Gloria Feldt weighs in on the issue:

“(Dr Grossman) neglected to mention that there are substantial life-threatening risks from pregnancy and childbearing, especially too-frequent or closely spaced pregnancies and childbearing. Those risks would at least balance out any elevated risk of breast cancer incurred from delaying childbearing. Further, when you weigh in the risks to women and children associated with increased stress and poverty when families have more children than they can afford to care for, it’s a slam dunk that women are better off being able to plan and space their childbearing based on a number of health and social factors. Oh, and did Dr. Grossman forget to mention that using the birth control pill lowers risk of breast cancer?
Thanks Dr. Grossman, but no thanks. Besides, I didn't have my daughter until I was 28 and fell short of the one year mark on breast feeding. Hmm...wonder if Dr. Grossman is on the front lines to protect women's right to pump at work AND provide us with clean & private lactation rooms?

Go ahead and have kids when you're 25, but don't do it just because you think you're going to save yourself from breast cancer. The 70-year-old with breast cancer today? I bet she had kids young because that's what happened 50 years ago. Take care of yourself and talk to a trusted health professional about what *you* can do to prevent breast cancer.

BTW, I know a fabulous woman who did have kids young and want back for that Ph.D. It's not a matter of choosing between, but choosing when.

technorati tags: breast cancer, prevention, Planned Parenthood, Gloria Feldt, breast feeding

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had kids young (I had my first of three at 25), breastfed them, (went back to school for a JD) and have breast cancer (at 41). Having children young and breastfeeding absolutely does not mean you won't get breast cancer!

October 22, 2007 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger Veronica said...

wow...Thank you for sharing your story. And much love to you in your fight.

October 23, 2007 at 2:19 PM  

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