Ep. 4: What Men Can Teach Us About Breast Cancer
- By: Florence Williams
- Oct 26 2017
- Length: 26 mins
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[Contains explicit content] Mike Partain was born on a storied Marine Corps base in North Carolina. Thirty-nine years later, he was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then he started finding old neighbors who had been diagnosed, too. Thanks to these rare male outliers, scientists are learning more about what causes one of the deadliest women's diseases in the world.
Breasts have been bared, flaunted, measured, inflated, suckled, pierced, tassled — and in every way fetishized by our society. Host and science journalist Florence Williams (prize-winning author of BREASTS: A Natural and Unnatural History) delves deeper into the mysteries of the human breast with funny and enlightening reporting. She tackles the big questions of why they evolved in the first place, how jet fuel ended up in breast milk, why they are arriving earlier and bigger in teen-aged girls, man boobs, and how breast cancer in men can help female breast cancer patients.©2016 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2016 Audible Originals, LLC
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And the Subtext Is . . .
It's good to know what Florence Williams' half-hour presentation tells us, that if breast cancer had not erupted in a group of men who shared exposure to the same environmental toxins during the same interval, we might still be waiting to learn that at least some breast cancers are caused by substances human beings have put into our environment. Read this sentence two ways:  as usual, something bad that happens to men is more notable and more consequential than the same something bad that happens one hundred forty-three times more often to women, and  the American "scientific community" has only recently been prodded into paying attention to (i.e., funding research into) hypotheses like "carcinogens cause breast cancer." Both interpretations are reasons to be angry, but Williams keeps her tone level: she's reporting, engaging her listeners' interest, not pushing any conclusions at them. I certainly learned from listening, but I'd like to have learned more, and I think I could have if Williams had trimmed some description and narrative to include more factual details..