I usually don’t write posts this long, so I hope you’ll stick with me and read to the end.
Reading other blogs this month I have learned there is considerable controversy regarding October and Breast Cancer Awareness month. Before my diagnosis earlier this year, I had no idea there was any controversy about this designation. I never even considered how such a thing could be controversial. I mean how could awareness ever be a bad thing?
Since my diagnosis, I have been thinking about a lot of things I never thought much about before. A cancer diagnosis changes how you think about everything. So now I am reevaluating “Pink October “ as well.
It seems many cancer survivors are completely turned off by this “pink campaign.” No, actually they are darn right ANGRY! They believe it is a commercialization of breast cancer. It’s certainly true many businesses use “the cause” as simply another means to self- promote in order to make yet more money. Pink October is just another advertising opportunity. For example, some companies give the impression of giving generously when in fact; they are only donating pennies per item sold. Others donned in pink are selling food products not conducive to a healthy diet, inadvertently contributing in at least some way to causing certain cancers, not preventing them.
Some people even believe the pink campaign has hurt breast cancer research, treatment and survival rate progress. Treatments and survival rates haven’t improved much they maintain. We are in a rut, so to speak. Everyone is AWARE of breast cancer and now we must get on with the next phase – DO MORE to get rid of the disease. Still others want more accountability for how research dollars are spent as well as specific goals as to what should be researched. Others bring up the necessity of bringing more awareness to different types of breast cancer such as metastatic and inflammatory breast cancers.
Then, of course, there are cancer survivors who can’t seem to get enough pink. They see any attention/awareness as a good thing no matter what. They wear, buy, promote and display as much pink as they possibly can. The more pink ribbons they see the better. At least all the pink gets the disease attention and might make people stop and think about breast cancer.
There does seem to be pink everywhere in October – pink ribbons, pink t-shirts, pink POTATO CHIP bags, pink jewelry, pink shoelaces, pink lights on bridges. The list goes on and on, in fact, just about anything imaginable can turn up pink this month. Even watching an NFL football game last week, I noticed pink arm bands, pink ribbons on the field, pink stripes on coaches’ caps and jackets and even pink something or other on the players foot gear. I couldn’t help wondering how much they spent on all that stuff. Even I had to admit it was over kill. It was actually down right distracting.
I’m still trying to figure out where I stand on this issue of October pinkness. I guess right now I’m kind of on the fence. I would, however, like to make a few points.
1. First of all, if I have learned anything since my diagnosis, it is that one must be careful in how he/she judges others. Just because we see something one way, does not mean it is the only way it can be seen. I know this one is really hard for survivors because we are so passionate about “our disease.”
2. We need to be careful to not turn off supporters. We need the dollars that do come in. Like it or not, money drives just about everything, including cancer research.
3. There is danger in hearing the old adage, “What do you women WANT anyway? You’re never satisfied, no matter what.”
4. Many businesses mean well and believe they are doing the right thing, so let’s not lose their support by sounding too abrasive and unappreciative. Let’s educate politely about how they might improve their efforts.
5. Sometimes we need to step back a bit. Perhaps breast cancer survivors are too close to the front lines and cannot be entirely objective.
6. Maybe it’s OUR job to further educate people after they are aware, so let’s get their attention and then “let ’em have it.”
7. Perhaps changing the month’s designated title to something else like Cure Breast Cancer Month would help, or maybe one month for all cancers, for unity sake??
8. You can and should give to organizations you believe in that are legit while encouraging others to do the same.
9. If you don’t like the pink stuff, don’t buy it.
10. Most importantly, let’s not let the controversy divide us. We need to stick together to ultimately reach our common goal – eradicating breast cancer.
All of this discussion has certainly caused me to think more about pink October and thinking is always good, right? Thanks for reading to the end.
What are YOUR thoughts and opinions about October’s Pink Commotion?