Despite the overwhelming evidence against them, CRUK still continue to deny their sexism against men. On the plus side it's certainly welcome to see the organisation finally engaging in dialogue, so lets examine their response to criticism.
Replying on behalf of CRUK chief executive Harpel Kumar, Carolan Davidge writes "let me reassure you that we are very much committed to helping men". Firstly lets analyse what she gets right in her email. For one thing she talks about CRUK's work on testicular cancer and I think this is one area where the charity's conduct isn't especially unreasonable. Testicular cancer has a very high survival rate and although far from rare, there is no epidemic of it. CRUK should be doing more, but there's nothing scandalous or vastly disproportionate about the resources they put into it it's hard to produce a compelling case for a "guilty" verdict of sexism by looking at that one issue.
Prostate cancer is the exact opposite, everyone hopelessly neglects it, and looking at CRUK's activities you'd never ever believe that it was almost as common as breast cancer (with the gap shrinking rapidly). Not only is awareness hopeless, but research and understanding it is at a primitive state due to decades of neglect. CRUK themselves admit that prostate cancer was neglected in the past, so what their response to this? Do they pump extra finding into the disease to make up for lost time or do they ignore the past and just give fair funding to prostate cancer today? The answer is neither. CRUK state "Although there has been a deficit in prostate cancer funding in the past, there’s been a substantial effort to remedy this..we’re now seeing some focused, concerted action on this front." However, CRUK still spends twice as much on each breast cancer patients as it does for each prostate cancer patent, and more than three times as much per ovarian cancer patient. Their justification for doing so is "the simple fact is, we know much, much less about prostate cancer than we do about any other cancer in the ‘big four’" So we're stuck in a vicious circle, CRUK (and others) blatantly neglected so many men in the past, and because of the lack of understanding resulting from this neglect, they use this as an excuse to continue to do so in future!
CRUK's most recent defence against allegations of sexism highlights their cancer information pages and publications as supposed proof of their commitment to men, but just like someone who keeps digging when in a hole, all we get to see is more proof of their sexism. The CRUK page on cancer information prominently lists six cancer types for visitors to click on, other cancer require expansion of the list to find one's cancer type. Naturally the "big four" are included, but also in the six of these apparently key cancers is cervical cancer. Despite the attention given to it in society, cervical cancer isn't actually especially common and numerous other cancers are far more prevalent, such as bladder cancer, and skin cancer, both of which also have more male victims than female. In CRUK's list of the 20 most common cancers cervical cancer barely makes it in at all, being the 19th most common type so why is it given this undue prominence, particualrly given that the HPV vacine is likely to reduce incidence of it by the day? The female bias is even more blatant on the main CRUK home page. This list of six of supposedly key cancers is reduced to five, with pancreatic cancer (the ninth most common type) omitted but cervical cancer (number 19 remember) staying firmly in place. It's worth emphasising that this bizarre obsession with women's female body parts by CRUK is going to hamr women as well as men, as most of them will not get one of these specific cancers either.
Moving on, if a visitor expands the list of cancers they find a link to a page on "womens' cancers" but not one for men. This despite the fact there are actually more cases of cancers unique to men than to women each year (43050 compared to 19343). Similarly, as with their slogan, much of the breast cancer information seems unnecessarily gendered too, in fact I can't even see anything on the breast cancer information pages even acknowledging that men get the disease.
Finally we need to consider the publications and other information that CRUK provide. They boast about these in their denial of the allegations of sexism but it is perhaps their weakest area of all. Remember, CRUk has a dedicated breast cancer campaign, with its very own website, slogans and even merchandise. This same organisation cannot even be bothered to produce prostate cancer information in large print as it does with far less common cancers, in fact it can't even bring itslef to offer one measly prostate cancer poster anywhere on its site.
I'm not pretending that everything about CRUK is anti-male and they did at least kick up a bit of a fuss when the government tried to deny prostate cancer drugs to men. Lets be honest here though- if CRUK had given half as much attention to prostate cancer as it does to the likes of breast cancer then the government would never have dared to try such a thing in the first place. Personally I think its noteworthy that of all is that of all the people to contact CRUK regarding their sexism, the only one to receive a reply thus far was female, again proving that not only are many male cancer patients neglected, their voices are ignored too. CRUK are quite correct to say they are "committed to helping men", the question is why they are so much less committed to helping men than women?
by John Kimble