Barbara Ehrenreich’s essay “Welcome to Cancerland” is a moving and detailed account of her experience with breast cancer. Barbara writes about the physical, emotional, and mental effects of cancer, as well as the way that it changed her outlook on life. She also discusses the lack of support and information available to cancer patients, and the need for more research into this disease. Barbara’s essay is an important contribution to the discussion of breast cancer, and will be valuable to anyone who has been affected by this disease.
In her essay, Barbara Ehrenreich welcomes us to cancerland with a somewhat warmer welcome. Her writing gives readers a different perspective on cancer. She raises several issues regarding how cancer is depicted, regarded attractive, infantilized, and robbed patients of their freedom. Cancer and chemotherapy or death are the first things that come to mind when people hear these words. Ehrenreich emphasized much of her writing on emphasizing how society objectifies breast cancer in particular.
First, Barbara Ehrenreich talks about how in “Cancerland” women are infantilized. She says that “the very word breast cancer suggests a kind of childishness or quaintness, as if the tumor were some kind of overgrown toy”. This is an interesting way to think about it because it’s true, when you hear the word cancer most people think of chemotherapy or death.
But not many people realize that there is an entire industry surrounding cancer. Barbara Ehrenreich brings up the point that this industry sells the idea of hope. The industry tries to make money off of people’s fears. And they do a pretty good job at it too.
The second way that Barbara Ehrenreich talks about how cancer is objectified is by saying that it is considered beautiful. She says that “In Cancerland, hair loss is a sign of beauty”. This is because when you lose your hair, it means that the chemo is working and that you are doing everything you can to fight the cancer.
Barbara Ehrenreich also talks about how in Cancerland, breast cancer is considered to be beautiful. She says that “Breast cancer becomes an aesthetic condition, to be judged by its symmetry or lack thereof”. This is because people often view cancer as something that happens to other people. They don’t realize that it can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, or gender.
The third way that Barbara Ehrenreich talks about how cancer is objectified is by saying that it robs patients of their autonomy. She says that “Cancer rob us of our agency”. This is because when you have cancer, you often feel like you are not in control of your own body. You have to rely on others to help you with everyday tasks.
Barbara Ehrenreich also talks about how in Cancerland, there is a lot of emphasis on being positive. She says that “The pressure to be upbeat can be overwhelming”. This is because people often view cancer as a death sentence. They don’t realize that there are many people who live long and healthy lives after being diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer has become popular, and its patients are its accessories. Its significance has been lost due to nonprofits, marathons, and fundraisers in pink. I can comprehend how Ehrenreich might have felt irritated by the problem. Following her essay, I’ve come to the conclusion that she believes people no longer notice the severity of cancer. This makes her feel neglected in a way. However, I don’t believe it is the goal of the pink stuffs for these organizations to help survivors keep optimistic. Rather than that ,I think these various national breast cancer groups are trying their best to assist patients stay upbeat.
In her article, Barbara Ehrenreich talks about how the cancer industry has taken over the meaning of cancer. She talks about how people with cancer are no longer seen as sick, but as “survivors”. I think that this is a valid point. Cancer has become a thing and its patients are its accessories. It has lost its meaning through the pink products, marathons, and fundraisers. I can understand how Ehrenreich had become annoyed by the situation.
After reading her article I have come to the conclusion that she thinks that people are no longer seeing the intensity of cancer. This makes her feel, in a way, forgotten. However, I do not think that this is the intention of the pink products. I think that the different national breast cancer organizations are trying their best to help the patients stay positive.
I also think that it is important to remember that not everyone experiences cancer in the same way. Some people might find comfort in the pink products and marathons, while others might not. I think that it is important to respect the way each person chooses to deal with their cancer diagnosis.
The opposite aim of the teddy bears, duffle bags, scarves, bracelets, and other items is what Ehrenreich feels. The organizations accept donations in order to assist those who have been affected by breast cancer. They wish to provide comfort to those who are suffering because they realize how deadly and harmful the illness is. This is why not just do they sell items, but also offer various forms of assistance such as personal narratives and survivorship recommendations.
The idea is to make cancer seem less threatening so people will be more likely to get checked and/or donate. The document does a good job of connecting the different experiences Barbara Ehrenreich has with how the culture has changed since she was first diagnosed. She starts off talking about how there are now more support groups and products available for those suffering from breast cancer. This makes it seem as if the disease is not as scary as it used to be, because there are people who have gone through it and come out on the other side.
She then goes on to say how this might not be the case, because the survival rates have not increased despite all of the advances in medicine. This makes it clear that while the culture has changed, the disease is still just as deadly as it was before.
The most striking part of the document is when Ehrenreich talks about how her cancer was detected. She found a lump on her breast and went to the doctor to get it checked out. The doctor told her that it was nothing to worry about and that she did not need to have a biopsy. She was then given a pamphlet with all of the different ways to prevent breast cancer.
This is an example of how the culture has changed, because in the past women were not encouraged to be proactive about their breast health. They were told that breast cancer was something that happened to other people and that there was nothing they could do to prevent it. This is no longer the case, as women are now encouraged to get mammograms and breast exams on a regular basis. This is a good thing, because it means that more women are aware of the disease and can catch it early.
The document ends with Ehrenreich talking about how she is no longer afraid of cancer. She has come to accept it as a part of her life and is grateful for the support of her friends and family. This is a very positive message, because it shows that even though cancer is a scary disease, it is possible to overcome it.
Overall, I think the document does a good job of showing how the culture surrounding breast cancer has changed over the years. It is clear that there has been a lot of progress made, but there is still more work to be done. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about the disease and how it has affected the lives of those who have been diagnosed.