October. We’ve got a love-hate relationship.
I LOVE the fact that October brings cooler weather, an almost daily supply of pumpkin pie and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and it becomes socially acceptable to wear maroon or black every. single. day.
But I also hate it. Because if you have a loved one who has battled or is battling breast cancer, you’re reminded of this fact every. single. day. Pink license plates, pink socks, pink ribbons, “Save the Boobies” t-shirts, *anything* “For the Cure“, and a plethora of other pink CRAP that does nothing but profit off of your unintentionally ignorant love and support for your loved one(s).
Don’t get me wrong. Showing your support for a friend or family member battling cancer with a t-shirt or bracelet is a nice way to bring about awareness for a disease that has claimed millions of lives, if that is your intention. However, effective marketing campaigns regularly lead buyers to believe that their purchase is supporting efforts to find a cure. When unfortunately, most of the time, all it’s doing is funding MORE awareness campaigns and the wallets of CEOs and other Executives.
Awareness is great. We probably wouldn’t be as far along as we are on the road to finding a cure if it weren’t for the amazing cancer awareness campaigns that have occurred over the last few decades. But we don’t NEED awareness like we used to. Because of awesome awareness efforts, breast self-exams, mammograms, pap smears, colonoscopies, prostate exams, etc. are readily available to people in the relevant at-risk groups (if you’re insured or have access to Planned Parenthood; but that’s a discussion for another post). And also, due in part to awareness efforts but mostly because of the prevalence of cancer in the United States, it’s rare to find someone who hasn’t battled or knows someone who’s battled cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 1/3 men and women will develop some kind of cancer in their lifetime and 1/5 will die from cancer (source).
Awareness is everywhere. And everyone knows that cancer is one of the leading killers in today’s society.
There is no “prevention”. Everyone is already “aware”. What they need is factual education and we need research funding. If you find a way to stop metastatic [breast cancer], you can prevent people from dying. Period. We’ve had over four decades of awareness, and saying we need more is saying we are still on step 1. That’s inexcusable. … We are dying. THAT is the awareness in education that people truly need. Not that [breast cancer] exists. We all know that. But that nowhere near enough has been done to stop it from killing over 110 women a day in the U.S. alone.
One Metastatic Breast Cancer patient said it all.
That’s why this month is not about “saving” the tatas. It’s not about wearing pink breast cancer ribbons. And it’s sure as hell not about wearing anything pink or “for the cure”. Because pink is NOT a cure. Awareness is NOT a cure. Currently, there is NO cure.
But do you know what there is?
There are millions of people like myself, my family, and my friends, who are reminded of the fact there is no cure every. single. day.
As we watch our mom deal with the nasty side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
As we watch our cousin die after years of battling breast cancer.
Or as we watch a beautiful, innocent baby get stabbed with needles upon needles that inject her with drugs so foul she can’t sit in her soiled diaper for more than a couple minutes before the chemicals begin to eat away at her flesh.
This is because pink is NOT a cure. And shirts with phrases about saving boobies or tatas are NOT a cure.
They’re a means for companies to profit off of other people’s suffering while simultaneously taking the attention away from cancer patients and diminishing them, their disease, and their battle to nothing more than a sexualized lump of flesh.
Don’t declare, “Saturdays are for the Tatas”. Don’t “Keep Calm and Save the Boobies”. Get angry. Get fired up. Do something and help save the person. Save my cousin. Save my mom. Because I can promise you, with every ounce of my being, my mom would get rid of her breasts in a heartbeat. Hell, I’d get rid of mine if that meant we didn’t have to wonder if that time our family was all together or if that holiday together was the last one we got.
So please, stop with the pink and the slogans and the sexualization of breast cancer, or any cancer. It’s not helping.
But don’t stop supporting the cause. You can continue to raise awareness while supporting real efforts to find a cure. Just do it with worthy actions. Instead of buying a shirt or a ribbon or a water bottle, use that money to make a donation to an organization who will donate 100% of it to RESEARCH (like METAvivor).
Research is where we WILL find a cure. And by donating to research not only can you celebrate those who have won their battle and honor those who died, you can fight back against the disease and actually make a difference in FINDING A CURE.