Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been going on now since 1985. There has been a lot of awareness (about exactly what is debatable) raised over the years as the dark veil of breast cancer has been lifted, but at the same time, has another veil been dropped?
Has Breast Cancer Awareness Month, unintentionally or not, been about cover-up all these years as well?
I do not in any way wish to diminish the good that has happened as a result of BCAM and there has been good accomplished.
The number one accomplishment is probably the simple fact that no one whispers about breast cancer anymore. The shame of a breast cancer diagnosis isn’t what it used to be. There is still shame, but that’s a topic for another day. It’s more accurate to say that people no long whisper about breast cancer. In fact, the opposite is true; breast cancer is the annoyingly ‘loud’ cancer to some these days.
Secondly, there’s no doubt about it, BCAM has helped put an end to our modesty, or rather hesitancy to talk openly about breasts. There’s certainly no hesitancy when it comes to talking about breasts these days. In fact, sometimes it seems as if BCAM should be called ‘breast awareness month’.
But have we covered up the disease too well and focused too much on saving breasts rather than on saving lives?
Isn’t this a sort of cover-up?
And back to that shame thing…
Some women say they feel pressure to do breast cancer a certain way. They feel pressure to stay positive, appear strong and act brave. There is shame sometimes when one instead feels depressed, weak and afraid. Genuine feelings are sometimes buried or concealed. Concealing genuine feelings can feel like yet another cancer burden to carry.
Ultimately, has BCAM encouraged women to be genuine or encouraged them to cover-up true feelings?
Hmm… You decide.
During many BCAM pink events, people dress up in crazy costumes and adorn themselves with pink whatever it might be. I’m not saying doing either is wrong, but something about it has always made me uneasy. Is it because it appears to be yet another breast cancer reality cover-up, yet another sort of glossing over?
I am reminded of that recent Today Show set where everything, and I do mean everything was pink. (And again, I love pink) Was this just another example of too much pink, too much cover-up or just too much of something?
Maybe. Maybe not. I guess as always, it depends on your perspective.
I do know one thing for sure. Nothing about breast cancer is pretty, pink or party-like. No amount of pink can cover-up this fact, not for me anyway.
And turning everything in sight pink doesn’t necessarily make women with breast cancer feel better or more supported. Have we forgotten that sometimes less really is more?
Taking things even further, the disfiguring mastectomies and lumpectomies are in a sense covered up with reconstruction and/or prostheses are they not? And far too often breast cancer is perceived by some as an opportunity for that infamous free boob job.
Talk about a reality cover-up!
And let’s not forget about the chemo cover-up. There are scarves, hats, wigs and fake lashes and brows available for purchase to cover the evidence here too. And don’t get me wrong, I wore a wig. I had reconstruction.
Breast cancer treatment of any kind (and the lingering side effects) can be harsh and difficult; no one should ever have to pretend otherwise. Yet sometimes it seems as if the faster you get on with things and appear to have put it all behind you, it’s often perceived that you have done a better job handling cancer. Ready or not. Cover it up. Move on…
Why do so many often work so hard at covering up breast cancer reality?
And who among us has not experienced the marketing cover-up that has been going on for years. It’s now old news that far too many businesses and companies have been covering up how many dollars (if any) they have been actually donating to ‘support breast cancer awareness’. Thankfully, this is changing, but pinkwashing is still alive and well.
One of the biggest cover-ups during BCAM has been the literal covering-up of metastatic breast cancer. Add to this the covering up of some science-based facts; such as, early detection (though important) is not everything. Mammograms aren’t as perfect as proclaimed for so long. The ‘orphan’ breast cancers, inflammatory and triple negative, have been under-discussed/covered up. And the list could go on…
Do you ever wonder if we weren’t covering up breast cancer reality so well, we might be making more progress at least on some fronts? Do you ever wonder if we weren’t covering up breast cancer reality so well, it might not be so often portrayed as an ‘opportunity’ to transform or improve oneself?
Has BCAM made us more aware?
Yes. And no.
Has BCAM been too ‘successful’ at covering up breast cancer reality?
I say yes.
What do you think? I want to know.
Has too much of breast cancer reality been covered up all these years?