A Cancerous Debate, Indeed

The world’s a scary place – and it’s even more horrific outside of our borders, which is one reason I find it so offsetting that ultra-liberals continuously complain about America. Sure, we’ve got our problems; our society is by no means a Utopia. But, beneath the surface – the left seems to consistently overlook the atrocities that are occurring around the globe. Don’t get me wrong – leftist complaints are sometimes valid, but when examining the overall scope, it’s distressing to see the wing nut avoidance of more serious and distressing affairs. Why is the left so disengaged with the horrific conditions that exist outside of its “let’s make fun of Bush and complain about the state of our nation” bubble?

When I stumbled upon this article, I just had to share it. The issues surrounding what you are about to read serve as prime examples that illustrate why democratic societies seek to intervene in Middle Eastern affairs. Notice, I didn’t mention whether or not it was moral; I simply said that they serve as “explanations as to why.”

It would be more than adequate to see some WhereIStanders address issues outside of Bush and Co., no? But since they won’t, I will:

One Saudi woman ignored the cancer growing in her breast because she didn’t want to risk a referral to a male doctor. Another was divorced by her husband on the mere suspicion she had the disease, while a third was dragged away from a mammogram machine because the technicians were men.

The Associated Press piece goes on to explain that breast cancer is taboo in many Gulf countries. As the disease continues to ravage on, lives are tragically lost. Luckily, some brave women are stepping up and pushing for greater openness about breast cancer.

Their efforts received a boost this week: a visit from U.S. first lady Laura Bush to the region to raise awareness for breast cancer.

“No campaigns, ads or programs would have had the kind of impact that Laura Bush’s trip has given to breast cancer awareness in the kingdom.” – Samia al-Amoudi (gynecologist who was diagnosed with the disease).

Undoubtedly, people will wonder why Laura Bush cared enough to fly out and discuss the issue with Middle Eastern women. But where are stories like this on WhereIStand? Apparently, our liberal bloggers are more concerned with Bush’s latest bowel movement than they are with delving deeper into serious world issues.

In Saudi Arabia, the majority (70%) of breast cancer cases aren’t reported until they are at a very late stage. This proportion stands at 30% here in the States. Plus, 30% of Saudi patients are under 40 years of age in contrast to 5% of the same among U.S. patients.

What’s the problem, you ask? Stigma, stigma, stigma, but isn’t that always the problem when dealing with Islamic nations and their treatment of women? Of course, there are signs of improvement:

In Saudi Arabia, a campaign that began last month gives discounts for mammograms, and, in billboards, urges women to “Do the test now, for peace of mind.”

But, there’s still much to do.

Now, let’s discuss the stigma. After all, it’s not a resource problem; Saudi Arabia has some of the best equipment around. It’s all about mindsets. Many Saudis (and Arabs alike) don’t even refer to cancer by name; the fear surrounding the disease is so great that they simply shy away from it.

Then, there are the socio-structural misconceptions. If a girl is looking to get married and has a mother who is afflicted, the family will often go to great lengths to keep it a secret for fear the daughter will not find a mate.

However, the greatest obstacle is the idea of women being examined by male doctors. Gasp! Male doctors?! One woman even hid her disease from her brothers who are experienced medical doctors. Unbelievable.

It’s simply horrific that these societies – especially when equipped with the necessary means to cope with the disease have not brought themselves up to a societal par – one that would greatly increase the quality of life among their female populations.