NFL’s Pink Publicity Stunt

October 19, 2016 8:16 pm

The following article is provided by The Clearity Foundation to support women with ovarian cancer and their families. Learn more about The Clearity Foundation and the services we provide directly to women as they make treatment decisions and navigate emotional impacts of their diagnosis.

NFL's Pink Publicity Stunt

Wall Street Journal: Opinion Page, October 1 – October 2 by Marty Malarky discusses the NFL’s affiliation with breast cancer’s ‘pink’ campaign; advertising that they have raised $15 million for breast cancer screening and awareness since 2009. Dr. Malarky goes on to point out that there are other cancers, namely pancreatic cancer, that are much more deadly and need funding as well. I applaud Dr. Malarky’s bringing this matter to the public’s attention.

Breast cancer is a worthy fundraising cause but much more treatable and survivable than several other cancers. In fact, for women, Ovarian Cancer is more difficult to diagnose and much more deadly. Each year in the U.S. 22,280 women are diagnosed, while 14,240 women previously diagnosed die. Once diagnosed, the average survival rate for 5 years is about 25%. Once treated, most women have recurrences which require repeated treatments before they finally succumb.

Federal funding is provided by the Department of Defense in the piddling amount of $20 million per year. The standard of treatment is intravenous infusion of Taxol and Carboplatin; once every three weeks for six months. This treatment makes women very ill; they lose their hair and have red and white blood cells decimated. Some women are platinum resistant; meaning that use of carboplatin is not effective. Ovarian cancer is usually diagnosed in late stages III and IV, since symptoms are few and not much different from others that women experience during their lifetimes dealing with their menstrual cycle. In late stage discovery OC may have already metastasized to other organs. The average age of a woman diagnosed with OC is 63. The FDA has not approved any other form of first line treatment in over 10 years.

My wife was diagnosed with Stage III OC in 2007 and was fortunate to receive Avastin as an auxiliary drug along with Taxol and Carboplatin. She is still in remission and we are very grateful for this. The color Teal is the standard color for an OC ribbon. Ovarian cancer could use the help of the NFL in their cause; $15 million in 7 years is a good start towards funding women’s cancers – maybe the NFL money machine would like to “step up” their funding rate to a significant number and incorporate Ovarian Cancer into their campaign? One team could wear pink ribbons and the other teal? Nice mix of colors. There are several charitable organizations who could use financial help.

Here in Colorado the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Association is doing good work towards awareness and one in California providing molecular profiles of tumor cells which allows targeted therapy, free of charge to those of Medicare age, is the Clearity Foundation. Another in the San Diego area is Nine Girls Ask. I am sure there are numerous others providing help to those with OC. Dr Malarky does not mention it, but Johns Hopkins has a well known gynecologic oncology department in the forefront of OC treatment.

Regards, John E. McElhiney, PhD

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