I think it’s a clever tactic. Their aim was to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer, and it has certainly done that. It was discussed on Newsnight, and it’s difficult to image that happening without this controversy. The ads and the media slots have highlighted the symptoms of pancreatic cancer so if it leads to even one person getting an early diagnosis (which is critical for surviving this disease) it’s a job well done.
Some journalists have said that the charity should realise that the disease is not a competition. But it is. It’s a competition for cancer research funding, which many believe is unfairly distributed.
I’ve often wished that B had contracted a different type of cancer. Why the brain, for god’s sake? He needs that! He could do without his testicles (he may disagree). Why couldn’t he have testicular cancer instead?
I’m sure it is quite common for cancer patients and their loved ones to have these thoughts, so why can’t they be voiced? Some breast cancer victims have claimed to be offended by the PCA campaign, as they feel it trivialises their suffering. I think they should just deal with it. Breast cancer is largely a survivable disease these days (the most aggressive strains excepted) due largely to its huge public profile and the advances in research that this has enabled.
Pancreatic cancer and brain cancer are still essentially a death sentence. Brain cancer receives less than 1% of cancer research funding, yet it is the biggest cancer killer of people aged 40 and under. Survival rates for both brain and pancreatic cancer have not changed in the past 40 years. If campaigns like this can help to change that, it’s worth a few hurt feelings in my opinion.