I love it when readers email me about articles and/or other stuff they find intriguing, troubling, disgusting, informative, inspiring or whatever the case might be. It’s like having my own team of breast cancer internet sleuths out there. You, my dear readers, are so smart and when you see or smell BS, you aren’t afraid to call it out, write about it yourselves, or as in this case, let me know so I can write about it. Thank you to the reader who let me in on this one (you know who you are).
“Take the Fright Out of Breast Cancer™” is a new education and fundraising campaign undertaken by BreastCancer.org, one of the most highly respected internet sites women (and men) regularly turn to for reliable information when they (or loved ones) are first diagnosed with breast cancer. It was the first site I visited when my mother was diagnosed. I still have copies of stuff I printed off.
But this time, I fear you got it wrong, breastcancer.org.
The mission of this initiative is stated as the following:
We started this education and fundraising campaign to address fear as one of the many barriers that may keep people from getting the best care possible. We know we can never remove all of the fears around breast cancer. We know everyone responds to and lives with fear differently. Our goal is to motivate people to courageously and confidently make informed health and life decisions.
Is this an okay mission?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Here are some of my thoughts on this campaign.
First and foremost, I find the name of it ridiculous.
“Take the Fright Out of Breast Cancer™,” seriously? It’s cancer, for crying out loud. Cancer generates fear. It’s not really possible to take the fright out of breast cancer. Dumb name and perhaps even insensitive as is might suggest a person’s fear isn’t warranted or valid. And let me tell you, at times, I’ve been damn afraid. I’m not sure suggesting we can “take the fright out” is helpful at all.
Also, I couldn’t help but notice this initiative itself is trademarked. It appears breastcancer.org is expecting this to really take off then, does it not?
If you visit the page explaining the initiative, you’ll see it’s broken down into four categories: Share the Facts, Host a fundraising event, Contribute your stories and Support each other.
Let’s break these down, shall we?
This section starts off with a snappy (really snappy) video titled, “Mammograms Take Courage.” And then another video, “Breast Cancer Myths and Facts.” I don’t really have a problem with either video, though the first comes off as ANNOYING. And…mammograms = early detection = things will be fine seems like overly simplistic messaging. Plus, I’m not sure scheduling a mammogram requires courage. I only scheduled mine (the first time) because my doctor (and my mother) told me to. Nothing courageous about it.
Admittedly, there are also good links with important basic info in this section.
Well, this gets interesting. Again, there’s another video, this time offering ideas for what sort of event you might want to consider hosting. Suggestions range from hosting a bake sale, to a music festival, to a Halloween party, to tackling a fashion show, to dressing up your dog and walking around your neighborhood. Yikes. Most sound like way too much hassle! Who has the time or energy? Not me.
Next, there are very specific ideas on how to go about promoting your event because let’s remember, they want it to be successful because that’ll mean more $$$ for breastcancer.org.
3. Contribute your stories. (no link)
I’m not sure where your stories end up. This wasn’t clear. Or what kind of stories are allowed. Or how long. Or if photos are allowed. I saw no details on this part. And no cute video.
This is a pretty straight forward invitation to you to join the breastcancer.org discussion boards, something I’ve never done. I’m not sure why I haven’t. Lots of women love these discussion boards. Maybe you’re one of them. Or not.
So basically, there’s nothing really wrong with this initiative other than the premise of the concept in the first place. There’s just nothing much right about it either.
Cancer is scary. You can’t take the fright out of it.
It’s Halloween. Can we just leave this last-day-of-the-month holiday alone and let the kids (and adults) enjoy it without throwing breast cancer into the pot (pun intended)?
It adds to the already over-the-top party, pretty-in-pink, celebratory nature of Pinktober shenanigans that many of us have been railing against for years now.
AND – once again, this campaign leaves out those with metastatic breast cancer. Who in their right mind would suggest it’s possible to take the fear out of that?
In short, “Let’s Take the Fright Out of Breast Cancer™” feels and sounds trite. I don’t have patience for trite-sounding nonsense surrounding breast cancer.
If you want to support breastcancer.org (or any other site), why not just donate directly?
This campaign might not be horrible.
Frankly, we expect more from you, breastcancer.org.
On this one, count me out.
What about you?
To download a FREE copy of my ebook, “Pink Is Just a Color, Ribbons Are Just Ribbons,” Click Here.
What do you think about this campaign?
Am I being too critical, sensitive or too something?
Where did you first turn for online information about cancer?