LTE For Portfolio- Comp0327

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. Articles like Rabin’s are a cruel reminder of the pain cancer leaves, and I couldn’t help but continue to read out of both interest in the topic and in memory of my late aunt. 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, she asks, then 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, which is difficult and for some pharmaceutical companies, not worth the time of day.

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. Seeing my aunt suffer opened my eyes to the cruel world of cancer, and I understand from firsthand experience why treatment advancements are so imperative. Scientists and researchers need to acknowledge this population of men with the terminal illness, even if this population is a minority. However, 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 For Portfolio- Comp0327

  1. davidbdale says:

    Comp, I rarely return to earlier versions of an assignment to compare them with the latest because my policy is to treat the work before me as a draft like any other and to recommend needed improvements. In this case, I remembered so clearly advising you against using Rhetorical Questions as claims that I went back to see if you had revised your post at all. I see you added personal reflections to the middle of your first paragraph, and into your conclusion which improves both of them greatly. But you’re still not making claims for the author when you phrase them as questions.

    Before we do anything else to sharpen your argument or tweak the flow of your logic, let’s chat about the Rhetorical Questions. Either I haven’t convinced you that they’re weak and confusing, or you’re in love with the rhetoric of questions.

    I have other recommendations, but I want to clarify this first. Thank you for continuing the conversation. It’s the best way to demonstrate the Core Value of “the recursiveness of academic writing.”


  2. davidbdale says:

    Comp, you didn’t make a specific Feedback request. I will return to offer feedback, but first I’ll respond to your classmates who gave me guidance about the sort of responses they wanted.


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