Monday, September 29, 2014

It's PINK Time!

Pinktober is upon us. Well, not quite yet, but it may as well be. I have already seen posts about making "boob" cookies, and pink-coated candy apples. Side note: eating a bunch of refined sugar is not exactly a great prevention behavior. It has become a holiday where there is money to be made selling trinkets.  I absolutely appreciate the use of symbols (like the pink ribbon) to show support and solidarity.  I have been on the receiving end of such support and was touched beyond belief.  However, much of Pink marketing is more about making money that does not necessarily go to research towards a cure or services for breast cancer patients. 

I belong to a support group with almost 900 women with metastatic breast cancer. We all know that early detection does not save 30% of lives. Our group's initial diagnoses run the gamut from stage 0 to III, with a fair amount of initial diagnoses of stage IV. Mammography is not great at detecting the fast growing, aggressive cancers that tend to pop up between screenings. Breast cancer in the breast is not fatal; its spread to bones and vital organs is. Almost one in three people with breast cancer will go on to have metastatic breast cancer, and no one knows why or in whom this will happen. It happened to me.

Breast cancer is not the "easy, curable" cancer (if only detected early enough) that Pink campaigns portray it to be. Less than 5% of funding for breast cancer research goes to solving the fatal riddle of metastasis. This October, think about which causes you support financially. Think about where the money is going from your race entry or t-shirt purchase. Choose an organization like and give directly. METAvivor devotes all monies raised to metastatic breast cancer research grants.

Here in Astoria, our most proud landmark, the Astoria Column, will be lit up pink starting on October 1st. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, whose color is gold. Why was it not honored with a Column bathed in gold?  Many families in our community have been tragically impacted by childhood cancer. In fact September is also Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, but I think very few people know that. It is unpopular and perceived as negative not to get behind popular "causes" like PINK, but I choose to share some truths and hope to redirect some focus to the UNpretty side of breast cancer, in hope that more lifesaving research will happen.

1 comment: