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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Since there is a Breast Cancer Barbie, there must be a Ken to match

Right off the bat, I want to say that I hope you act/volunteer/donate to whatever cause that you feel led to. For me, I am not too thrilled with all of the pink ribbon stuff that manufacturers do up, in the guise of donating money to support breast cancer research/awareness/whatever they say in order to get folks to buy their wares. For one thing, more money would go to said research/awareness efforts if individuals just sent the money without buying the Kitchenaid mixer or Campbell Soup first. And another thing-the other cancers out there aren't ever mentioned, just breast cancer. It is amazing that one cancer has got the marketing savvy, but hope that some of the awareness in the world spills over to the other types of cancer, because there is plenty to go around. Based on research a colleague and I did this past spring, it is estimated that a baby born in the U.S. this year, 2007, has a nearly 42% chance of experiencing cancer - any cancer - in its lifetime. There aren't enough colors in the rainbow to make ribbons to cover all of those cancers, so folks will just have to remember to fight Cancer, with the big C.
Saying that, I want to join in on the call for designing a prostate cancer Ken to match up with the Breast Cancer Barbie that was debuted last year. Here are some comments on the Cancer Blog at that time: . I had hoped that the Barbie was designed more realistically, maybe showing how to cope with working at a caring for a family and/or career despite experiencing side effects of treatment; set her up with a computer file that is linked to her support system (thank you Apple , for keeping me connected with mine!); make sure she becomes a member of the Livestrong community; if she is not the one that is experiencing cancer, get her to be a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, or the Komen Foundation, or a hospital volunteer in the children's cancer wing... that sort of stuff. So when Jeanne Sather put out a call to design Ken to be a spokesperson for prostate cancer, I jumped. (I would also jump at the chance to design any type of doll to signify the experiences of my head cancer, folks. They have dolls going through pregnancy, so having one go through radiation treatments and a parotidectomy isn't much of a stretch, and eliminates any ticklish discussions about the stork vs. where babies really come from.)
So, if Ken is to become the spokesmodel for prostate cancer, his box should include: 2 baby-blue awareness ribbons, one for him and one for the human playing with him; an Information Rx card from (the BEST place to get information when you get slapped with a diagnosis like that); a computer for him to log on and join up with appropriate support groups; a book on how to be a good caregiver for Barbie to read; a pamphlet describing all of the different types of treatment available (cryosurgery, radiation, prostatectomy, and the watching/waiting method), which would include the side effects of each; a list of doctor appointments that comes attached to his PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test results; and finally an insurance benefits booklet to review to determine if his insurance covers the treatment his doctors decide is best for his type of cancer (it would be written like those choose-your-own-ending books - pick this treatment, expect this type of health and financial ending. We need that type of book for cancer in general RIGHT NOW for our national and state representatives to read and digest before they come up with any further health plan work in this nation). The toy company should include a dust-covered workbench or item of exercise to signify his lack of energy during treatment, but it could be dust made with that temperature-sensitive paint, so after his treatment is over and when he feels more like going out and playing golf or going to work on his hobbies, all the human would have to do is run it under warm water and the dust disappears. I don't know how to signify the permanent loss of things cancer causes - in this case, sex, normal voiding, normal living (just as I wouldn't know how to have a doll lose its taste in the case of head radiation). On the outside of the box, there should be something that says a portion of the sale goes to the Prostate Cancer Foundation , if that is the premier foundation for this type of cancer. Now, what good such a doll would do is anyone's guess. I just might find a Ken and do him up as described above.
Take a look at the other comments on The Assertive Cancer Patient blog, and add your own here or there, please.


Jeanne said...

Teri--this is great! I'm going to make a Prostate Cancer Ken doll for real, also, so we'll have to trade photos.

Yours sounds like it's going to be a real teaching toy, for adults, while mine will be more of a protest against Breast Cancer Barbie in her pink formal gown.


whitneydt said...

Will losing the ability to have sex really be a problem for Prostate Cancer Ken? I can't remember exactly but I think his genitalia were not exactly up to specs to start with.

Thanks for the laugh this afternoon!

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