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#BreastCancerAwarenessMonth 2019, Eight Random Observations #breastcancer #Pinktober #BCAM #womenshealth #advocacy

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 2019 – Eight Random Observations

Whew, we’ve nearly made it through another Breast Cancer Awareness Month! To wrap up Pinktober, the 2019 edition, I thought I’d share some random observations. Be sure to share yours in the comments too.

1. Randomness. That is my first observation.

My mind has been all over the map this month. Random. That’s me. I am so darn aware of breast cancer and all the random ways it has impacted my life and the lives of so many others I know. Nine years out from my diagnosis, and there is still fallout. I continue to pick up the pieces.

If you’re reading this blog post (thank you), you likely are more than aware too, and perhaps continue to pick up the pieces of your life as well.

2. Dear Hubby and I started out BCAM with a trip to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for a consult with plastic surgeon #4. Do we know how to kick of Pinktober or what?

Yes, I said plastic surgeon #4. WTF. I cannot believe this piece of my medical history myself. I also had a CT scan. (I’m fine. Mostly.)

And yes, I feel guilt. Guilt will likely be a post all its own at some point. But for now, I feel guilty for even bringing up the above mentioned trip as I fully realize my friends with MBC have been enduring grueling medical appointments this month (and every month) to continue their life-long treatments. They are SO aware. Every freakin’ day, they are aware.

So, what do I have to lament about?

And yet, I have been doing a fair amount of exactly that. Dear Hubby would likely agree. None of this breast cancer crap is easy for our loved ones either. Cancer sucks. Period. And the collateral damage lingers on.

3. I have noticed less pink marketing bullshit online and in brick and mortar establishments. I mean, a lot less! (Or is it just me?)

Granted, I only made one trip this month to my local mall where I passed one relatively speaking, meek BCAM display. I was going to take a pic of it on my return pass on my way back to my car, but the display was so unmemorable, I forgot to do it.

I think this less-pinking thing might be progress.

4. Also, during my grocery store visits, I did not see one food item with a pink ribbon label on it.

Remember the melons label nonsense a few years back? I sure do. If you do not, consider yourself lucky.

Woohoo! Dare I say it, more progress. (Or maybe I just need to get out more.)

5. The NFL seems to have jumped off the pink bandwagon. Sort of.

I Googled this because I took notice that my favorite team has not been decked out in pink this October as in years past. It appears the NFL has chosen to focus more broadly on all cancers by promoting its Crucial Catch campaign during October. Players can show their support by wearing any color or ribbon.

Progress?

Maybe. Maybe not.

6. Important discussions about male breast cancer are happening at least somewhat more openly and frequently.

We still have a long way to go, but I sense some progress regarding discussion. However, men continue to have poorer survival rates, so clearly there is lots more work to be done. You might want to read Dr. Attai’s piece, Update on Male Breast Cancer.

7. Metastatic breast cancer is out of the shadows and patients and their fellow advocates are bringing their voices to the table, but too many are still dying.

Until MBC is front and center during BCAM, until research is the priority, until treatments are less harsh, until more MBC patients are included in clinical trials and at the table at conferences, until treatments become less harsh and extend lives by years rather than months, until we see less disparity and most importantly, until the number of deaths from MBC screeches to a halt, we cannot ease up on our advocacy efforts.

This year there are expected to be nearly 42,000 deaths from MBC in the US alone. 500 of them will be men.

Why is this number not going down?

8. Just when I think things have improved in the last few years regarding advocacy shenanigans, I see this:

#BreastCancerAwarenessMonth, 2019 and Eight Random Observations #breastcancer #womenshealth #metastaticbreastcancer #advocacy

And this:

#BreastCancerAwarenessMonth and Eight Random Observations #breastcancer #BCAM #womenshealth #advocacy

Yes, that is a breast self-exam depiction on the front of an airplane. You can read about and even watch a video showing the ridiculousness of this particular campaign here, if you want to.

And then there was this gem:

#BreastCancerAwarenessMonth and Eight Random Observations #breastcancer #womenshealth #advocacy #Pinktober
Are you kidding me? This is so NOT cute or amusing; it’s demeaning. Breasts are not pumpkins, and let’s not forget that men get breast cancer too.

It’s Time to Stop Trivializing Breast Cancer!

The worst I saw this year was probably a Boob Bus. I can’t even share the photo. I just can’t. Just picture a large pink bus with balloon breasts bobbing all around it. Visualize those gigantic, inflatable holiday blowup snowman and Santa Claus decorations people put out in their yards; yeah, picture those, only as breasts.

Infantalization of breast cancer needs to stop too.

So, those are a few of my observations as another Pinktober comes to end. Some are encouraging, some not so much.

Sometimes it feels like we take one step forward and two steps back. Or that the steps we take are merely baby steps at best.

Some progress is better than no progress at all. But still, why is some of the craziness so hard for so many to understand?

It’ll take all of us continuing to work together to make bigger strides.

I’m in for the long haul.

What about you?

For now, goodbye Pinktober.

And Happy Halloween! 🎃 🎃 🎃

To get more articles like this delivered weekly to your inbox, Click Here! #KeepingItReal

#BreastCancerAwarenessMonth and Eight Random Observations #breastcancer #womenshealth #Pinktober #pinkribbons #BCAM #malebreastcancer #MBC

What’s an observation about BCAM 2019 you’d like to share?

Where have you seen the most progress? The least?

What specific ideas do you have to elevate awareness into more meaningful action?

22 thoughts to “Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 2019 – Eight Random Observations”

  1. As always your posts are “food for thought” for me. I am looking forward to an upcoming post on guilt. I have guilt. Thank goodness November 1 is just around the corner. Thank you for taking the time to post. They help me.

  2. Ok, I’ve noticed a bit less pinktober, not enough less, but somewhat. I’ve also gotten braver about reminding people to put their money where their mouth is and give directly to cancer research which has helped me survive this month. And yes, I’m glad it’s over after tomorrow! I also had a ct just last week. It was fine but other symptoms have warranted a bone scan this Fri. Funny, I don’t worry like I used to. I feel as if life has already thrown it’s worst at me to where I nearly had a nervous breakdown, so I’m pretty unshockable at this point. Happy Halloween everyone and welcome to November!

    1. Donna, Good for you for reminding people to put their money directly toward research whenever you can. I’m sorry to hear you have some new worries to deal with. Good luck with that bone scan. I’ll be thinking about you. Thank you for taking time to comment.

      1. Nancy, good luck with your plastic surgeon visit. And I was just thinking, next April when it’s testicular cancer awareness month, how would that self check look on a plane? Hmmm, food for thought.

  3. Now that you mention it, I have seen a lot less pinkification this year, especially at retail. Hope you come to a viable solution/resolution regarding your plastic surgery options. I know how stressful that whole process can be. Best of luck in that regard. xo

  4. Many thought-provoking points and insightful observations. On a minor note, I had also wondered about the lack of pink (comparatively) in the NFL this year. Btw, who is your team? Anyway, I think to voices such as yours progress will be made.

    1. Jeffrey, My team is the Vikings. Guess I’m sort of a misfit here in Wisconsin. It’s been nice to not see all that pink on the football fields this year. Good decision by the NFL there. Progress is being made, baby step by baby step. Thank you for reading and commenting too.

  5. Chiquita bananas had Pink ribbon stickers. I went to their website for an explanation. I found numerous healthy recipes. Better than what most companies do.

    1. Cynthia, I haven’t seen that particular example other than on Facebook posts. I buy Dole. No ribbons on them or on any other food products, not that I’ve noticed anyway. Good for you for going to their website. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Your blog is so spot on. Can you recommend a blog or website that addresses the new FDA recall on Allergan Biocell textured implants? When I received the letter from Cedars Sinai informing me that after having so many surgeries to remove my cancer and reconstruct my breast I wanted to cry and scream at the same time. I’m now being informed that I should consider another surgery to remove these new lymphoma (cancer of the immune system) causing implants and replace them with something else. Does anyone have an opinion on this recommendation?

    1. Pamela, I think I’ve read that most doctors aren’t recommending that these particular implants be removed without patient symptoms. It sounds like your team is suggesting otherwise anyway. Before proceeding, be sure insurance will cover any surgery w/o symptoms. I would think they would, but you never know. Here are a couple sites: https://uihc.org/allergan-recall https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-takes-action-protect-patients-risk-certain-textured-breast-implants-requests-allergan Good luck!

  7. Hi Nancy. I can’t tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel in comparing ur situation to MBC patients. As a MBC patient, I am saying please don’t feel guilty. You have no reason to feel that way. You’ve done nothing to be guilty for. Be grateful that you are in a good place and know that the rest of us should feel blessed in having someplace to turn to vent. I do see a lot of acknowlegement during pinktober but nothing for MBC. Although, I feel every month should be recognizing ALL cancers. People need to be educated on the color lavendar for all cancers but its hard to not focus on the color that affects your own personal fight. I wish all those living with your own personal fight a good day. Remember, even when its a shitty day, it can have a way of showing how much strength you have to fight back to experience the good days. I thank God for everyday even when its a sucky one(s).

    1. Melissa, Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate you saying I shouldn’t feel guilty. I know that’s true, but as is often the case, it’s easier said than done to change one’s thinking and/or feelings.

  8. I mean, it seems less pink in stores–but I am seriously doubting my ability to “See” it anymore. If it IS true and there is less, my worry is that some brands just decided it was not worth the hassle of being criticized. But then, given that most were not contributing $$$, no great loss.
    I think the NFL changed to ALL cancer awareness with their “crucial catch” last year–I think there was a vocal group that kind of challenged “what about xyz cancer?”–and rightly so. I’ve seen a little bit of pink gloves here and there, but far, far less.
    Oh and #RavensFlock handed Patriots their first defeat last night, hurray!

    1. CC, Well, I’m still fairly confident in my ability to see the stuff. I am a homebody though, so it’s possible I missed a lot. It’s good the NFL changed its strategy. Maybe some of our noise has gotten through. Yay for the Ravens defeating the Patriots! Thanks for reading and for commenting too.

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