Facebook posts their new policy on mastectomy photos which states:
Does Facebook allow post-mastectomy photos?
Yes. We agree that undergoing a mastectomy is a life-changing experience and that sharing photos can help raise awareness about breast cancer and support the men and women facing a diagnosis, undergoing treatment, or living with the scars of cancer. The vast majority of these kinds of photos are compliant with our policies.
They go on to explain why breastfeeding photos are removed from Facebook:
However, photos with fully exposed breasts, particularly if they’re unaffected by surgery, do violate Facebook’s Terms. These policies are based on the same standards which apply to television and print media, and that govern sites with a significant number of young people.
I don’t take any credit here because I admit I really didn’t have any opinion on whether Facebook should or should not allow pictures like mine to be broadcast all over their site. I mean, I can see some justification for protecting ”young people” from images of a frightening disease, really, there could be private boards within Facebook for this sort of thing, couldn’t there? It shows Facebook’s sensitivity to us as users that they are allowing these images to be seen. Who are FB’s customers? The advertisers, right? Do you think they want mastectomy photos gathering shares & likes? I don’t see why they would.
What IS weird though is why FB, is so nervous about breasts. OK, it isn’t weird, they are just using the same criteria that all other US media use but what on earth is wrong with breastfeeding? In my opinion, breastfeeding should be more visible, I mean, it is normal, it’s natural! Wouldn’t we all be better, calmer and happier seeing more of that?
Well anyway, now that Facebook has clarified their policy, about half the sites that are reporting on it are using, yup… my photo.
Here is a sample: inquisitr posts new facebook policy
June 6th is the day we brought Robert home! I figure most of you have never seen any puppy pictures so here are a couple along with some more recent ones. It is pretty hard to believe he wasn’t always part of the family and even harder to imagine what it will be like without him someday. He was about 6 months old and only 45 pounds when we brought him home… as you can see he was an adorable pup! Freya went along with the idea during the initial meet and greet at a friend’s home until it suddenly occurred to her that we meant to keep him, then she took a bit of um, convincing. He was always really good with her. In fact, when he was about a year old, Freya was getting really arthritic but still loved to play fetch so we would go to the park near us at night and let them both off leash. Scott would throw the Frisbee, Rob would chase and retrieve it, and then bring it right to Freya so she could return it to Scott for the next toss — all without a word spoken or a prearranged plan — it all just somehow fell into place thanks to Robbie.
That intuitive caring is why Robbie has been such an amazing therapy dog. I would take him to an assisted living facility for a scheduled visit and as we’d enter the common room where everyone was gathered for the event, I’d have him sit at the entrance to get our bearings. I’d watch him scan the room’s occupants and then look up at me to indicate he was ready. I’d nod to him it was okay to go and let him lead me as he walked right up to a specific person and engage them. Without fail, the event coordinator would come up to me and whisper, “That’s who I was going to ask you to be sure to visit. He or she has been having a really hard time. How does he do that?” I’d just beam at him and say, “He’s a rock star!”
I’ve heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child and a dog is no exception. Thanks to…
- Audra, for pulling him from the Pierce County Humane Society
- Dana & Larry Babb of Paws-Abilities for making training fun for us
- My Mom for teaching him so many of his tricks
- TDI, Therapy Dogs International, for giving Rob a job he loves
- Drs. Theresa Hetrick and Tim Cavanaugh for taking care of him
- The staff of the VCA Emergency Animal Clinic for saving his life a couple of years ago
- Tanya for being the best dog-sitter in the world
- Everyone else who falls in love with him everywhere we go.
Happy Gotcha-versary to Robert Bruce… Toast!
Since Angelina Jolie’s news, I’ve seen several points repeated, so I’ll address them:
“She should have waited until she actually had cancer.”
This actually reflects several misunderstandings: of Cancer itself, a confusion between systemic and localized cancer, and a lack of knowledge about mastectomy procedures. She couldn’t have had the surgery she had if she had waited until she had cancer. What she had is a “skin-sparing prophylactic mastectomy” the point of which is to remove as much breast tissue as possible while giving a result that is not obtainable with reconstruction after cancer surgery. Compare the pix below:
Pretty big difference isn’t there? The first looks natural and the second is designed to look natural in clothing. The scars from biopsies and mastectomy really can’t be hidden that easily.
The other problem with actually waiting and relying on so-called early detection is that it assumes that a mastectomy could or should be done at that point when it is not always the best option. Cancers may be local or systemic and just because a cancer is small does not necessarily mean that it was caught early or that it will be easy to treat. A small cancer could be a very aggressive cancer with tendrils reaching into other organs that would need to be treated with radiation, chemotherapy or other treatments and skin that has been scarred and irradiated is not always capable of being stretched over an implant. Essentially, once you have a malignant tumor, you are no longer having a “prophylactic mastectomy” because breast cancer may be in other parts of your body besides your breasts as author Kelli and her sister, Fran, discover in this article, MY SISTER HAD A DOUBLE MASTECTOMY TOO, BUT SHE DIED OF BREAST CANCER ANYWAY.
This is similar to what happened to my mother. For those of you who haven’t read it before, Mom had breast cancer which was treated by lumpectomy and radiation. She had the requisite followups of mammograms and biopsies and when she was diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer in her lungs, liver and spine twenty years later, her breasts were clear of cancer. So if she had a so-called “prophylactic mastectomy” at the first sign of cancer, she would have had the same thing happen.
Obviously “preventive” means before cancer is diagnosed. If you want an approachable but still gratifyingly educational book about cancer, check out The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee.
Here is another absurd yet oft’ repeated statement…
“No ethical doctor would ever remove a perfectly healthy set of testicles from a man who has no symptoms of testicular cancer, so how could a doctor do this?”
Here we have both medical ethics and sexism rolled into one question. The quote brings to mind all the tabloid scandals since the 60s from medically unnecessary hysterectomies, (the so-called Harlem appendectomy) to DES, from C-sections to prophylactic mastectomies… never mind that this time it is the women asking for the procedure. There are a couple of things that really irk me about this statement.
1. Testicles aren’t analogous to breasts, but to ovaries, and as important as these are women do get them removed much more cavalierly than they remove breasts. Breasts actually have little function aside from breastfeeding infants and Jolie and most other women who are in the age group to be considering this procedure have probably already done that.
2. Since cancers affect lungs, pancreases, stomachs, and plenty of organs that can’t be removed preemptively, does that mean that something that can be, shouldn’t be? These women are educated, can generally afford the procedures if not covered by insurance and are making their decisions with their doctors. Is that really different than any other elective procedure?
Bonus round: Right now, neither genetic testing nor prophylactic mastectomy is usually recommended by physicians but if Aetna’s policy posted online here is indicative, prophylactic mastectomy medically necessary for reduction of risk of breast cancer it may be recommended by insurance providers at some point.
I know this is controversial stuff, so please be thoughtful of others feelings when you comment.
Here is a link to a Daily Mail article about 4 young UK women who discuss their reasons for having this surgery.
Here is a link to an article by a woman who says she delayed having a prophylactic mastectomy and then did get cancer.
Skin sparing Mastectomy film on Youtube from Johns Hopkins
I was engrossed in making a presentation on the Part of Fortune for class this morning and completely missed Angelina Jolie’s announcement that she had had a prophylactic mastectomy until it was brought to my attention by a friend who asked if she could use a quote from me in light of it!
Once I looked the article up, I was thrilled that she had gone ahead with the surgery since I had thought about it back when she’d lost her mother to Ovarian Cancer, a related cancer. What shocked me was reading so many negative comments from people who don’t understand the context of a decision like hers. Sharon Osbourne received the same negative feedback when she made the same decision last year and it just amazes me how cruel and shallow people can be. I guess they are just proof that some people never really make it out of middle-school.
Their situations point up some differences between 1993, when I had my surgery, and 2013. In 1993, the BRCA gene test was new and no one was quite sure what percentage of cases it would account for, so I didn’t even have the test. We mostly discussed family medical histories. I had a traditional mastectomy which removed all breast tissue, leaving large scars. Reconstruction at a later time was offered but I preferred to stick with external prostheses and to cover the scars with tattoos. Angelina chose a skin sparing, immediate reconstruction option which she says left her with only small scars. Her cancer risk is slightly higher than mine but I am sure her results are more aesthetic than mine were pre-ink. Sharon had implants removed and I don’t know if she’s replaced them or not.
I’ll discuss why prophylaxis IS a reasonable way of dealing with cancer in another post, K?
Here is a link to Jolie’s New York Times piece.
And a link to Sharon Osbourne.
Amoena makes external breast prostheses.
I was privileged to attend the Avery Coonley School for a number of years and one of our traditions was the May Pole dance. The fifth graders got to demonstrate the weaving of the maypole ribbons as part of the Spring Fair celebration in front of the reflecting pool. It was a fun, boisterous affair and the tipsy Maypole in the picture is exactly how I remember ours ending up.
All things considered, I preferred the solemn Thanksgiving festival at the opposite end of the year, when we would march in procession through the auditorium (the archway in the pic) by class, with each class singing a different song or hymn, every student wearing matching brown cloaks and each carrying fruits or vegetables of some kind, that would be added to a Cornucopia display on the stage, and given to the Salvation Army afterward. It was simple and very moving.
Click here for the official Avery Coonley School site
And here for the Avery Coonley Wikipedia Article
April Showers Bring May Flowers
The crocuses and tulips are gone and we are on to the next batch… Camellias, Lilacs and Wood Hyacinth.
The Roses, Irises and Heliotrope should be up in June!