I like Channel 4 News on the tv. It airs at around the time I’m usually settling down to my daily dilation. Its relaxed but informed and informative style is epitomised by one of its anchors, Jon Snow. Earlier today Mr Snow tweeted, and blogged, about his appearance (with two relatives) on ITV’s This Morning show to take part in an awareness-raising event on behalf of the Prostate Cancer Campaign.
So far, so good – high profile news journalist makes use of his position to support a good cause.
Except – well, to be honest, I wasn’t terribly impressed by the blokey wording of his Tweet to help publicise the event:
I’m talking balls on ITV. Peter, Dan and me. Snowballs. Prostate cancer. This Morning, 10.30am.
“I’m talking balls…” Because prostate cancer only affects Teh Menz, right? Teh Menz with Teh Balls.
Except – prostate cancer does not affect men’s balls. It affects the prostate gland. Following some of the links, it’s clear that Mr Snow and This Morning have failed to understand that it’s not only cis men who may contract prostate cancer – TS/TG women may also be susceptible to it.
Even the Prostate Cancer Campaign doesn’t get it:
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I ran a simple Google search for prostate cancer, +trans women. It returned 382,000 results. The second of those is from a website built by NHS Barking and Dagenham called Health with Pride. And right there, in the trans cancer section it says:
It’s important to recognise that trans women will still have a prostate post-gender reassignment surgery and can still develop prostate cancer.
The Vancouver Coastal Health’s Transgender Health Program has published a document called Trans people
and cancer (direct link to PDF) which states:
MTFs who are not taking hormones are at the same risk for prostate cancer as non-trans men. Feminizing hormones cause the prostate to shrink, which reduces the risk of cancer, but it is not known how much the risk is reduced. There have been reported cases of prostate cancer in MTFs taking hormones both before and after genital surgery.
From the Transsexual Road Map:
Surgeons do not remove the prostate gland and Cowper’s gland in the current techniques.
Also, for this reason, it’s important to have a prostate exam whenever you have a gynecological exam. Prostate cancer is a major killer, although the likelihood in trans women is probably significantly reduced. Still, you should have it checked regularly along with your breasts and vagina, especially after 35.
So don’t tell me that only men can get prostate cancer. Because as well as erasing TS/TG women, you really are talking balls.