LTE Draft-Comp0327

Insert Title Here

To the editor:

Re: “Who’s Missing From Breast Cancer Trials? Men, Says the F.D.A.” Published September 9, 2019.

I was fourteen years old when the term ‘Breast Cancer’ was first introduced to me and my family. My aunt was forty-three years old and was battling the stage three terminal illness, and treatments were less than advanced. Today, over four years after her passing, I read Roni Caryn Rabin’s article, which discusses Breast Cancer treatments, and the lack thereof in male patients. Rabin begins her argument by informing readers that only one percent of all Breast Cancer patients are male, which makes the data pool for treatment and success rates difficult to find and compare to that of women. However, she argues, why are statistics about men with Breast Cancer, or the lack of treatment in men, such an issue? If women were once excluded from medicine, treatments and even research, why are men now being excluded from the same things?

While I understand Rabin’s argument, one thing sticks out in my mind while reading her article: Only one percent of all Breast Cancer patients are men. Finding men with the disease for treatment and research is difficult, even Rabin admits this: ““Many, many oncologists have never seen a case of breast cancer in a male patient,””. And so it is quite obvious why many doctors are unsure how to treat the men suffering with the terminal illness, or why research and statics are few and far between. Finding one percent of a population is like finding a needle in a haystack.

With that being said, it is also important to acknowledge the men who are not receiving proper treatment for their Breast Cancer, who are suffering without the help they need and deserve. Scientists and researchers need to acknowledge this population of men with the terminal illness, even if this population is a minority. I do stand by what I said, that Rabin should acknowledge how small the population of men with Breast Cancer is in the grand population of all people with the illness, and that she should consider that when wondering why there are nearly no statistics about these men or treatments for these men.


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2 Responses to LTE Draft-Comp0327

  1. davidbdale says:

    Hey, Comp!

    You start very strong, with nicely-crafted sentences, to introduce your topic and your credentials. But you don’t connect the dots as effectively as you might, so for readers it sounds like a ball was dropped. You don’t say, ” More than four years after her passing, articles like Rabin’s still hurt,” or indicate that because of your family’s history you have a special sympathy for men whose lives are shortened by a disease nobody expects and medical science has long ignored.

    You make the common error of presenting questions as if they were claims. Specifically, you say:

    However, she argues, why are statistics about men with Breast Cancer, or the lack of treatment in men, such an issue? If women were once excluded from medicine, treatments and even research, why are men now being excluded from the same things?

    Neither of those sentences is an argument. To be arguments, they’d have to be declarative statements, in other words, answers to those questions, such as “statistics about men with Breast Cancer are hard to find, and the failure to detect and treat the disease in men is deeply regrettable.” The second sentence would have to make a claim too, such as “science has corrected the error of excluding women from clinical trials; it is now time to do the same for men.”

    Paragraph 2.
    You’re right to focus on the rarity of breast cancer in men, Comp. The low number of cases obviously prevents most doctors from having first-hand experience with the disease. But what exactly is the nature of your reaction? A careless reader might think you are suggesting that since the condition is rare it doesn’t warrant study. While it’s probably obvious that profit-driven pharmaceutical companies aren’t eager to develop drugs for such a small population of customers, but I doubt you conclude from that that doctors should ignore such patients too. So, what exactly do you want to claim?

    Paragraph 3.
    Here you make your own position much clearer for anyone who is still reading. But by now you may have lost many readers by not providing them what they needed when they needed it. You make ethical claims that identify themselves clearly with signal words and phrases: “it is also important to acknowledge,” “proper treatment,” “the help they need and deserve,” “need to acknowledge.” What’s unclear now is why you believe Rabin disagrees. Wasn’t the point of the original article to call attention to this failure of medicine to address a life-threatening illness? And doesn’t she even answer the question you’ve been asking by offering the observation that pharmaceutical companies don’t “waste their time” on researching drugs that would benefit so few?

    You miss an opportunity for rhetoric, Comp, by not bringing your family history into your conclusion. It would be very easy for you to lament that what happened to your aunt was tragic, and that it should never happen to anyone’s uncle either. You see what I mean.

    Please let me know how you feel about this overload of constructive criticism. Much as I like to give advice, I very quickly start to ignore students who don’t keep the conversation going.

    1. Respond to this feedback with a Reply.
    2. Open your post in Edit and make revisions.
    3. Update your post without creating a new one and without changing its title.

    OR, since your “for Portfolio” version is due Thursday, you could:
    4. Copy and paste this version into your new post.
    5. Then revise to create a clear difference between your Draft and your “for Portfolio” versions.

    But do Reply to this post either way so I know whether you appreciate the feedback or not.

    Thanks, Comp.


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