'1 in 1,900' T-shirts protest policy and personalize odds in breast cancer screening
To me, what Monday's announcement from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (suggesting that women under the age of 50 don't need regular mammograms) seemed to lack was personal perspective. Anyone who has suffered through breast cancer -- or had a loved one who has -- will probably tell you that performing 1,900 preventive mammograms to save the life of one woman isn't too big a hurdle.
If you feel otherwise, save your vitriol for someone else. I'm not a scientist, an economist or a government flack. What I am, however, is someone who appreciates how quickly the wheels of commerce (even charitable commerce) can turn in the Internet age.
About 15 minutes ago, my sister-in-law sent me a link to cafepress.com/1in1900, where T-shirts are already for sale that hammer home what those odds really mean. White T-shirts emblazoned with the pink ribbon that's become the symbol of the battle against breast cancer, the shirts bear the words: "I Am the One in 1900 " at the top and the words "My life was saved by preventative breast cancer screening."
Other versions personalize the odds with "My Friend Is the 1 in 1900," "My Mother Is the 1 in 1900," "My Sister Is the 1 in 1900," "My Daughter Is the 1 in 1900" and "My Wife Is the 1 in 1900."
All proceeds from the $19.99* T-shirts benefit the American Cancer Society, which quite publicly continues to recommend annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination for all women beginning at age 40.
What do you think the odds are they'll sell a heck of a lot better than the "I Followed the New Screening Guidelines and All I Got Was This Lousy Breast Cancer" shirts?
-- Adam Tschorn
*[UPDATED 11/19/2009: In an early version of this post, the price of the T-shirts was incorrectly listed as $14.99.]