How Many Women Have Breast Cancer?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Emmys 2017 (Evening Standard)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Emmys 2017 (Evening Standard)

Earlier this year, “Veep” actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus revealed that she has breast cancer. In an Instagram post announcing her diagnosis, she noted that “1 in 8 women” receive the diagnosis. Is this number accurate?

According to data provided by BreastCancer.org and the American Cancer Society, this ratio is accurate (and the exact one cited by both websites). In 2017 alone, it’s estimated that there will be 252K+ new cases of invasive breast cancer (not counting recording cases). This number of new cases of breast cancer has risen slightly in the past few years: In 2014, 236K+ women were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Estimates put deaths from the disease at around 40K+ for 2017. Death rates from the disease have been steadily declining since 1989, and have dropped 39% from 1989 to 2015.

Breast cancer is currently the most common cancer for women, regardless of race or ethnicity. However, that doesn’t mean race doesn’t factor in to surviving the disease:

While breast cancer incidence rates are highest in non-Hispanic white women, breast cancer death rates are highest in African American women.

Louis-Dreyfus has completed her second round of chemotherapy. PSA: get those mammograms!

 

 

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Trends: Genderless Awards Categories

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

Last month, MTV announced that its MTV Movie Awards would be no more. Instead, the show would now involve awards for TV, and be called the MTV Movie & TV Awards. But that wasn’t the only new thing the cable network had in store for its new awards show: Certain major categories will be gender neutral.

This new gender neutrality spans the acting categories: Best Actor in a Movie (which includes Emma Watson from “Beauty and the Beast” and Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out”) and Best Actor in a TV Show (which includes Donald Glover from “Atlanta” and Millie Bobby Brown from “Stranger Things”). Of course, some categories have always been gender-neutral, inkling Best Kiss, Best Villian and Best Hero.

There’s clearly a sea change happening, as mainstream culture has gotten hip and woke to the nuances of gender identity. And the young generation isn’t averse to asking for what they want, particularly in terms of representation. Actor Asia Kate Dillion, known for their role on Showtime’s “Billions” as a non-binary character (and TV’s first one at that!), wrote to the Television Academy and asked them to reconsider their binary male and female categories. This was a big ask: the Television Academy governs the Emmy Awards. The Television Academy was very receptive to Dillon’s letter, and Dillon decided to submit themselves under Best Supporting Actor

If the Emmys were to do away with gendered categories, the award show would be getting back to its roots. The Emmys enacted separate categories for male and female performers in 1951, its third year.

I hope this new gender consciousness grows until it becomes so commonplace we no longer need to remark on it.

Viola Davis is the First African-American Woman to Win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress

Emmy-winning actress Viola Davis (NY Daily News)

Emmy-winning actress Viola Davis (NY Daily News)

Acclaimed actress Viola Davis made history last night when she became the first African-American actress to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Davis plays lawyer and law professor Annalise Keating in ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” now in its second season.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is finally beginning to recognize more diverse talent. Davis was up against Taraji P. Henson for “Empire,” which was the first time two Black women were nominated in the same category. Davis acknowledged Henson and 2013 and 2014 nominee Kerry Washington in her acceptance speech.

Some context for this win and occasion: The category has been awarded since 1953. Debbie Allen was the first Black woman nominated in the category in 1982. It begs the question: what took so long?!