Byline: PROFESSOR MICHAEL BAUM
FOR ME, one of the saddest events of 1998 was the death of Linda McCartney from breast cancer. Linda stands as the representative of the hundreds of women with the disease who attend my clinics each year, and the thousands who die from it nationwide.
She lived an enviably healthy lifestyle, her disease was caught early, and she received the best treatment, both orthodox and complementary, that money could buy. And yet she died.
Following her death, the call went out once again for women to be made more aware of this disease through health education, and for more and better breast screening, both of which would aid early diagnosis.
If only it was that easy.
The truth, I'm afraid, is that the public and political responses to the breast cancer epidemic so far have been largely pointless, and patronising to women everywhere.
On the one hand, we have breast cancer awareness campaigns full of alarming and essentially meaningless statistics. On the other hand, there are the false
reassurances that if women practice self-examination of their breasts - checking each month for lumps - and so catch it early, everything will be all right.…