Pancreatic Cancer Action Campaign: I Wish I Had Breast Cancer


Congratulations, Pancreatic Cancer Action.

Your brilliant marketing plan is working. It was a stroke of genius to have Tube ads and YouTube videos of people saying “I wish I had testicular cancer” and “I wish I had breast cancer.”

The UK-based  Pancreatic Cancer Action’s Ali Stunt  was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer age 41 in 2007.  Upon learning the disease has a 3% chance of survival and an average life expectancy of just months, she found herself  wishing she had  a cancer with a  better chance of survival. “In fact the cancer I personally wished I had was breast,” Stunt writes. “[My friend with breast cancer] was telling me how grueling her treatment was and how difficult it was to cope with the diagnosis. While I was sympathetic…I couldn’t help but think every now and then, ‘it’s alright for you, you have an 85% chance that you will…

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8 Responses to Pancreatic Cancer Action Campaign: I Wish I Had Breast Cancer

  1. Sadly the girl in the advert died on 22 or 23 February 2014, she was 24 years old.

    The Pancreatic Cancer Action campaign shows the damage and the disservice that the Pink Ribbon has done to breast cancer. All cancers need research into effective, less toxic treatments. We need answers, not ribbons.

    • Scorchy says:

      How very sad. Too damned young. Just too damned young.

      And you’re right, Victoria. We need answers, not ribbons.

      • Her name was Kerry Harvey and according to a TV interview she gave on 13 Feb she was planning to marry her boyfriend. Don’t know if they were able to do that because she was already very frail. I just can help thinking that PCA used these people for their campaign and knew how controversial it was going to be and that there would be a lot of criticism. Kerry even received death threats because some people can’t differentiate between an ad campaign and the fact that these are real people and not models paid to pose. I understood the message, but the fact that they were wishing they had breast cancer show how glossy and false the perceived image of BC has become.

  2. Dialogue is one thing. But creating divisiveness in the greater cancer community doesn’t serve anyone. Is PC underfunded? Yes. But unfortunately, the biology of this cancer is very complex and even if every dollar of cancer funds were thrown at it, the science just doesn’t exist — yet. That’s not to say they don’t deserve a larger piece of the pie, but money isn’t the answer to everything.

    This campaign was meant to shock and shock it has. But if PCA was sincere about making changes vs bullying other cancers, they would be TAKING PART in the conversation they started, not leaving it to equally ignorant supporters that are misquoting statistics. For starters, how about addressing the “early detection” myth this is all based on. The stage at which BC is found does NOT guarantee disease-free survival. Many people mark the five-year milestone only to be diagnosed with metastatic disease thereafter. This is another unintended consequence of the dreadful Pink Narrative which needs to be dismantled. Instead, PCA uses it as the basis of their marketing campaign. Talk about dirty tricks.

    Their tactics do not make me want to support anything they are associated with, and THAT is very unfortunate. The last tweet of one particularly vocal supporter who baited me endlessly on Twitter sheepishly tweeted, “I suppose I couldn’t ask you to sign our petition and RT this to your followers…”

    Seriously? After all of this, that was pretty brazen. And awkward.

    An equally troubling question is how far an organization will go to raise awareness. It seems that the more outrageous the campaign, the better — and the justification that “if it saves just one life, it’s worth it” — is repugnant. Where do we draw the line? Would it have been okay for PCA to substitute the reference to BC with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that can last a lifetime despite a less than enviable quality of life? How about ALS? Autism? Domestic Abuse? God forbid, Rape.The answer to all of these choices is OF COURSE NOT. It is inconceivable that ANY other cause or disease should be marginalized to raise the profile of another and THAT is wear PCA “Awareness” lost its way.

    They sob that they only want hope. They want their fair share. They want better statistics. Those are all reasonable things — but there was a better way to go about this and PCA has not served them well. The one thing I would want above anything would be an advocacy group that served my interests without becoming the pariah of cancer awareness. These people have been used and that, too, is unforgivable.

  3. dear scorchy,

    if now it not the time for Komen to step up the plate and start a dialogue about the TRUTH of breast cancer, particularly metastatic breast cancer, AND verbalizing the recognition that ALL CANCERS are horrible diseases, I don’t know if it will ever happen. I think the PCA advert has gotten exactly what they wanted. I know I am a ninny for even having a glimmer of hope that there could be something positive coming out of all this appalling folderol. I have never been very sophisticated about hope – I’m just relentless about holding on to it

    love the angle you took with this post.

    much love and light,

    Karen xxoo

  4. jbaird says:

    Thanks for reblogging this. The more coverage, the more indignation. Maybe they’ll just kill the campaign entirely. It’s a slap in the face to all who have breast cancer, but especially us who suffer from the metastatic kind.

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