Friday, October 26, 2012

Sexy Cancer Campaigns -- Sexy Prostate Cancer Campaigns?

I listened to The Current on my way to work yesterday, and wondered what it would be like if prostate, or testicular, cancer campaigns were sexualized the way the breast cancer campaigns have been.  The big question was if the campaigns are saving lives or saving breasts.  I listened to the story with a mindset focused on Tom, who is dealing with metastasized prostate cancer.  I wonder what would happen if similar tactics would be applied to cancers that have a more male focus -- such as prostate or testicular cancer.  It would be great to raise awareness -- no one should be ashamed of the kind of cancer they have when they start to work toward regaining health and getting rid of the cancer.  

Would a similar approach for the more male focused cancers resonate (or "swing", or "stand up erectly", if I can put it where it is) with men and their partners?  The sexy breast cancer campaigns include voice-overs by men talking about breasts and photos of attractive female bodies, focused on female breasts.  We live in a society that celebrates and reveres female breasts but doesn't celebrate prostates, testicles or penises as openly.  ... or at all.... The Movember movement has created a vehicle to raise awareness, raise funds, and create new ways to think about prostate cancer and mental health. And we get to see a lot of men with more hair on their faces than usual... at least until they have to take the anti-androgen drugs that are the first line of defense against the spread of prostate cancer.  Then one of the side effects is hair loss... oh well, that sounds bleak. 

Tom needs to talk about his particular "ish" (as he calls them), although not all the time, and he has found a local support group through CancerCare Manitoba.  It's more than important to get all the issues out into the open.  We could save lives that way.  Any way we can help people feel less embarrassed about any cancer that has links to our bodily functions is good.  I think that getting it out there will make people feel more like they still belong to a world that celebrates sexuality.  As adults that's an important part of our being.  People might feel neutered (in the words of the prostate literature), or less feminine, because of things done to remove cancers; we all want to feel sexy and real and engaged.  Healthy.  And alive.

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