February 4th was World Cancer Day and there was an effort to highlight cancers where research is underfunded, and the cancer itself is often misdiagnosed. These kinds of cancers often claim the lives of women.
For instance, 220,000 men will develop prostate cancer in 2015, about 28,000 will die from it. In 2013, fewer than 100,000 women developed gynecological cancers, but the same number (28,000) died from it, with ovarian cancer being the #1 killer of all the gynecological cancers. However, research for gynecological cancers is funded at about 50% of prostate cancer research. What a shocker, huh ladies?
Now flashback to 2008 when six musically inclined gynecological oncologists from hospitals across the country (one of them from my hospital, Mt. Sinai in NYC) agreed to play a gig at a medical meeting. A one time thing, they thought. Well, one band, two albums (Six Degrees and N.E.D.) and a 2013 film documentary later, they’ve created a following of Nedheads and have taken on creating awareness of “below the belt” women’s cancers with sold out rock concerts around the country, despite their busy medical practices and a lot of geography separating each band member. See a trailer from N.E.D. The Movie here:
They named the band N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease) because those are the words the doctors want to say and the patients want to hear. But N.E.D.’s music is seldom directly related to cancer. Written by the band, the songs draw on the deep emotions that doctors share with their patients and their common struggles with human relationships. Check out this live clip of ‘Turn it Around.’
Enter Spark Media, Washington DC-based company involved in cause-driven projects to blend the medicine and the music. In NED the movie you’ll see footage of surgery between upbeat concert sets. The documentary depicts real patients talking to their real doctors about their prognosis and decisions. It shows patients and doctors lobbying on Capitol Hill, learning and explaining why more money and research is needed to help those affected by gynecological tumors. Concert footage shows real women getting up on stage on holding posters depicting their cancer conditions.
Remember, 30 years ago, women didn’t talk about breast cancer and many more women went undiagnosed and died. So be a Nedhead, and make ladybit cancers just as known about and funded as boob cancer. Your friends, family, and generations after us will thank us.