Archive - Feb 2, 2012

The C Word

Today, a friend of mine left work early to take his sister to the doctor. They think she has cancer. My grandmother died of cancer, my wife's mother died of cancer, and more recently, friends and relatives of mine have successfully fought cancer.

I work at a health center which does incredible work with underserved populations and has a really important early detection program. As a nonprofit organization, we need to stay out of partisan politics. It is difficult these days, because health care has become so politicized.

I work in communications, particularly with social media, so I watch closely when organizations falter in their communications and especially when they fail at social media.

So, with all of this, I've been watching, with morbid fascination, the Susan G. Komen fiasco. There are so many things wrong with this, it is just astounding. Politicians and celebrities have come out to lambast the Komen foundation.

It is tempting to pile on, but there's already too much negative energy around. So, instead, we should look for ways to turn this into something positive.

Part of the Komen foundation's rationale is that they want to make their grants more efficient. A good way to do that is to completely bypass the Komen foundation. Give money directly to Planned Parenthood and other organizations doing cancer screening. Also, consider giving money to organizations supporting research. I'm trying to find the best one to support. It seems like The Breast Cancer Research Foundation may be a better place to donate to.

Working in health care social media, I've gotten to know more about the Mayo Clinic and theirWomen's Cancer Program, and they seem like another organization well worth supporting. They are one of 11 programs that are part of the National Cancer Institute's Specialized Programs of Research Excellence. You can find the other institutions on the Breast SPOREs page.

There is a lot of negative energy around 'The C Word', but we can call cancer by its name, and not get caught up in the negative energy. Instead, we should focus on prevention, through organizations like Planned Parenthood and Federally Qualified Health Centers, and on research through organizations, like those that participate in the National Cancer Institute's Specialized Programs of Research Excellence.

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