Defending public services

Battles against privatisation and cuts

The Price of Progress: Capitalism and Cancer

After my breast cancer surgery, the factors which indicate whether I would benefit from chemotherapy were inconclusive. There was one further test available. The Oncotype DX test examines the activity of 21 genes in the tumour tissue of patients with early-stage oestrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) invasive breast cancer and calculates whether chemo will be effective or not.

My score was low (14/100), and so, like many others since this test was developed a few years ago, I do not have to go through the puking, hair-losing agonies of fighting cancer by throwing poisons at it. So far, so good.

So, what’s the catch? My tumour had to be sent to the USA to be tested. This took a few weeks, which delayed the start of my radiotherapy, reducing its effectiveness of in preventing the cancer returning. Radiotherapy is supposed to start within six weeks of surgery; mine started twelve weeks after. Only time will reveal the impact of this delay – but it could mean that my cancer comes back when it would not have done so otherwise.

Women's Cancers and Work: what trade unions can do

Each year, there are over 55,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer in the UK, 3,000 new diagnoses of cervical cancer, over 7,000 of ovarian cancer, over 9,000 of uterine cancer, and over 1,000 of vulval cancer. Nearly 12,000 UK women die each year from breast cancer, over 4,000 from ovarian cancer, over 2,000 from uterine cancer, nearly 500 from vulval cancer, and nearly 900 from cervical cancer. 

1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Think of all the women you know: one in eight of them. Think of all the women in your workplace and in your trade union: one in eight of them.

Research has linked 4-5% of breast cancer cases to shift work, due to circadian (body clock) disruption and exposure to artificial light at night. Studies have shown that breast cancer risk is 21% higher in women who have ever experienced circadian disruption, mainly through night work, compared with those who have not. Exposure to certain substances at work also increases the risk of breast and other women's cancers.

#TubeStrike

I proper hate those Tube strikers
  they've well messed up my day
I'm late for tea at City Hall
  I walked most of the way
And then found out the CEO
  had nicked my parking bay

On every other day I don't
  give them a second thought
They work to run the railway safely?
  Nothing of the sort!
I know they're lazy bastards 'cos
  I saw the news report

You'll SHARE if you CARE

Today, little hearts have been appearing on Facebook walls. No message, no explanation, just a heart. Apparently this will help the fight against breast cancer. Huh?

Some undoubtedly well-meaning friends messaged me (and probably all their other friends) asking me to post said heart. Instead, I posted this:

A Communication Cock-up and a Transatlantic Trip

Readers may recall that at my last appointment with the breast surgeon (2 December), I was told that I was being referred to the oncologist to determine what treatment I need to have next. I'd hear from them within two weeks, and I should feel free to chase this up. So, naturally I did - repeatedly - and was told - repeatedly - that said appointment would be today or tomorrow.

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