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Ready or Not, Pinktober’s Here!

Are you ready?

I’ve been fluctuating between wanting to be quiet during October which is of course, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or trying to “rev things up” a notch. I’m still not exactly sure where October Pinktober will lead me. Stay tuned.

It seems like I should have some profound post planned as October begins. I’m certainly eager to read  words of wisdom from fellow bloggers all month.

As for me, I have nothing profound to offer today, just more questions.

Recently someone said to me, I’m paraphrasing here, you bloggers need to be careful not to alienate people about pink. Most people are just trying to do the right thing. Most people are just trying to do something.

I get that.

Whenever I write a post I always try to bear this in mind. It is never my intention to put anyone down for buying pink stuff, wearing pink ribbons, running in races or donating to their favorite charity. In fact, if truth be told, I still like pink.

But turning everything pink this month is just not good enough!

I want awareness of a different kind and it really has nothing at all to do with pink.

The kind of awareness I’m trying to raise is the one about the reality of breast cancer. I’m also trying to raise awareness about where exactly all that money being raked in is going, or rather where it’s not going.

So, I’m just going to throw a few questions out there once again.

They’re not new questions. They’re not profound questions. They remain unanswered questions.

  • If we have been so successful in the fight against breast cancer, why are there still some 40,000 deaths each year? What kind of success is this?
  • If we have been so successful in our fight against breast cancer, why are more women being diagnosed each year? Shouldn’t there be fewer?
  • Why does there seem to be this tendency to gloss over the seriousness of breast cancer? How many times have you heard someone say, “Well, at least you got the good cancer.” How many times have you heard a celebrity proclaim to be cured because they caught their cancer early? Really? There’s a cure?
  • Why does metastatic breast cancer so often appear to be a “third wheel” amongst all the pink hoopla? Or worse, not represented at all?
  • Why do we focus so little on prevention? And mammograms, by the way though important, are not prevention.
  • When did pink morph into the face of breast cancer, or perhaps the face of cancer period?
  • And the biggest question of all, with all those dollars being raked in during October, no all year, why are more not directed toward research?

We have awareness. We need more.

We need to start focusing on other things.

For example, we need better screening tools. We need better and less harsh treatments. We need to figure out why some cancers metastasize and some do not. We need to learn how to prevent cancer in the first place. We need to further study genetic links. We need to cleanse our environment from known deadly toxins.

We need to know a lot more about many things.

This October when you’re bombarded with pink ribbons and prompted to support breast cancer by buying a product with a pink ribbon or label, I hope you’ll also think about these questions and ask some of your own.

I hope you’ll join me in raising the bar. Find out if all (or any) of your charitable dollars are really going where you think they are. Dig a little. Speak up. Join a discussion. Your actions matter.

When the little things each of us do are all tallied up together, sometimes profound things do happen.

That’s what I’m hoping for.

How about you?

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Ready or Not, Pinktober's Back!

Do you think bloggers like myself alienate people?

Are you affected by pink ribbon marketing tactics?

Are you making any changes in your “October behavior?”

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Elizabeth J.

Tuesday 1st of October 2013

Great post! I, too, have mixed feelings. Partly because I feel the over simplified and selective positive messages misled me into a false feeling of security, that we were winning, that I would not die of metastatic breast cancer like my grandmother, that I would not have to have a mastectomy like my mother. Maybe the key is to encourage people to be careful where they donate, what they buy. Despite all the positive hoopla, I was stage 3 when diagnosed and it has metastasized to my bones. I am currently in remission, but as many people do not understand, that is not the same as cured and I must stay in some kind of treatment for life until they find a cure! Pinktober - I, too, have mixed feelings. We need to find a way to educate people about metastatic cancer, but I often get the feeling that some of them don't want to know.

Nancy

Tuesday 1st of October 2013

Elizabeth, It boggles my mind every year at how little attention metastatic breast cancer gets during October. It makes no sense at all. Perhaps calling it Breast Cancer Education Month would be a good place to start. Sadly, the last sentence in your comment just might be true... Thanks for commenting.

Sharon Gillum

Sunday 23rd of October 2011

I just came across your site. Great post. I'm a breast cancer patient and I just wrote a blog about this subject as well. It's irreverent, but says what I think a lot of people are beginning to think...

I'm with you 100%. Turning things pink is just not good enough.

http://skirt.com/s-j-guillaume/blog/i’m-so-over-pinktober

Nancy

Monday 24th of October 2011

Sharon, Thank you very much for commenting and for directing me to your blog post. I'll check it out. Turning all things pink is just not good enough and more and more people are beginning to realize this. There's nothing wrong with pink, but we need more.

Kel

Monday 10th of October 2011

I also agree with the "glamorization" of BC. It is trendy to have a pink ribbon on whatever you have, or die it pink, or package it with special effects. What I wish we could have for Pinktober instead is research that would provide a better test for BC recurance. I am a 5 year survivor of stage 3 HER2+ BC with rising CA27.29 test results. Unfortunatly this test causes a lot of anxiety and stress, but no diffinitive answers. Thanks for the blog!

Nancy

Monday 10th of October 2011

Kel, Thank you so much for reading my blog and for sharing your thoughts here. Pinktober does seem a bit trendy doesn't it? That's a good way to put it. A better test for BC recurrence would be really something. I'm sorry your particular test results aren't exactly where you want them to be. I can only imagine your anxiety and stress. Don't feel too alone, though, none of us have definitive answers about recurrence. We all need more answers don't we?

Friday Round Up «

Friday 7th of October 2011

[...] already tired of it and don’t like feeling (self-induced) pressure to write about it.” Nancy shares something of Jackie’s feeling too in her latest post, although, in the end, she had [...]

Amanda

Thursday 6th of October 2011

I am so glad I found this blog! I just wrote a post about the "pinking of America" on my blog. My maternal grandmother died of breast cancer in the 60's when all they did was a masectomy and send you home to die. I know that I'm at risk for both breast and ovarian cancer because of this and let me tell you, I'm so sick of all the pink. I work for an ovarian cancer organization, which has little to no awareness, and the breast cancer organizations won't partner with us bc we can't give them enough money. I really hate this month because of all the pink and I hate how companies glamorize breast cancer!

Nancy

Thursday 6th of October 2011

Amanda, I'm really glad you found my blog too. I understand your frustrations and worries. It's really sad there can't be more partnering with the different campaigns. And I agree with you about the "glamorization" of breast cancer. It's a very odd thing the way this whole breast cancer awareness thing has evolved into something entirely different really than it started out to be. Thank you very much for adding to this discussion. I hope to "see" you back.

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