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“Take the Fright Out of Breast Cancer™” – Seriously? I Fear You Got It Wrong this Time, BreastCancer.org

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?

1. Share the facts 

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.

2. Host a fundraising event 

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.

4.  Support each other 

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.

Because…

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.

Then again…

Frankly, we expect more from you, breastcancer.org.

On this one, count me out.

What about you?

Read another perspective on this particular campaign by my friend and fellow blogger, Cancer Curmudgeon, via the Underbelly.

To download a FREE copy of my ebook, “Pink Is Just a Color, Ribbons Are Just Ribbons,” Click Here.

Do we really need to tangle up Halloween with breast cancer? I think not.

Do we really need to tangle up Halloween with breast cancer? I think not.

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?

 

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Ali

Friday 17th of November 2017

Can I add another fundraiser event, for your opinion? Here is a quote from the page:

"...But most importantly, a Mudmoiselle wants to drag cancer through the mud. If that sounds like you, then swap your heels for runners, change your push-up bra for a sports bra, and chuck your pantyhose out the window. Whether you’re a survivor or want to support a fighter, it’s time to join your fellow Mudmoiselles in raising funds for Canada's most promising cancer research and vital cancer support services. Because when life gets messy, we stick together..."

Here is the link to the page: http://www.cancer.ca/en/get-involved/events-and-participation/find-an-event-near-you/mudmoiselle-on/?region=on

Thank you, if others don't find this offensive, I'll try to learn from that, if they do, I'll share the responses with the Canadian Cancer Society. My attempt at expressing what is wrong with this campaign did not go well.

Juli

Thursday 26th of October 2017

I will also say, however, that I agree with you. This breastcancer.org "initiative" oversimplifies the who experience and lays a guild trip for those of us who don't have energy for doing bake sales or fashion shows. I can't stand the whole pink ribbon thing. Blech.

Juli

Thursday 26th of October 2017

I'm sorry if I seem like a Polly Anna but my experience with breast cancer and fear was exactly the opposite. Before I was diagnosed with it, I feared it. Now that I have had it, I no longer fear anything. And I feel like my experience with breast cancer HAS made me a better person. I feel like BC has been my teacher. I am a happier, more humble person... more compassionate. My life has more purpose for me now because I want to make every day matter. I have more compassion for myself as well as for others. I am better at taking care of myself and that feels good too. 2017 has been a rough year but I wouldn't have changed it for anything! My hope would be that others can tap into this part of breast cancer too. Being able to accept the things I cannot change and become more proactive about the things I CAN do something about has been a very freeing experience for me.

Lennox

Tuesday 24th of October 2017

Wow, someone was asleep at the wheel on this one. Take the Fright out of Breast Cancer? I support this site and I wish them luck with their fund raising, but I will never NOT be scared of breast cancer. NOT EVER! I had tons of support, encouragement, and love and yet my most vivid memories are of the fear. Fear of dying, fear of losing my hair, fear of being sick, fear of side effects, fear, fear, fear.

What I find most insulting (and disappointing) is that they have obviously tried to tie this in to Halloween with the juvenile lettering on their heading. It makes me think of the theme parties we used to have back in high school. Is that what raising funds for cancer has been reduced to? I sure hope not.

Nancy

Wednesday 25th of October 2017

Lennox, Asleep at the wheel, no kidding! I wonder if this campaign will be dropped next year. I sure hope so. I agree with your comments completely. Thank you for sharing them.

Eileen

Sunday 22nd of October 2017

With only a quick glance at the website, I agree they missed the mark but I'm not offended. Not really. First, they do acknowledge in the mission statement, "We know we can never remove all the fears..." Speaking for myself, and I'm sure many others, the support of those who went before me cushioned me to a small degree. The support is essential and breastcancer.org was a major source of support for me during treatment. Loved the online support group and the discussion boards. They were a lifeline for me.

That said, I can see this is a fundraising ploy. Breastcancer.org is a worthy organization in my opinion, but I do think the party/event thing is a little ridiculous. Really, it is. If this is the best they could come up with, they need to hire a different creative/marketing director.

As for fear, I couldn't imagine being more frightened after diagnosis and during initial treatment. No amount of support could change that. Between Chemos 1 and 2, the husband went with me to get my first Neupogen shot. As we walked across the grass toward the door, I literally dug my heels into the grass and he had to pull me along. I was so traumatized from it all that I freaked out just going back inside that building. So, agreed, there is no taking the fright out of it, despite all the support in the world.

Nancy

Wednesday 25th of October 2017

Eileen, I'm not offended, just disappointed. I expect more from breastcancer.org. I hope we all do. I realize raising money is a necessity, but this campaign feels trivializing and juvenile to me. And yes, the fear...You've read my books, so you know how fearful I was! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this one, Eileen. Appreciate them, as always.

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