Be-Wary of Breast Cancer Awareness

Beware the Ulterior Motives in Breast Cancer Awareness

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Be-Wary of Breast Cancer Awareness

Some Breast Cancer awareness items, which likely do not support research.

Some Breast Cancer awareness items, which likely do not support research.

Photo Credit John Kraus

Some Breast Cancer awareness items, which likely do not support research.

Photo Credit John Kraus

Photo Credit John Kraus

Some Breast Cancer awareness items, which likely do not support research.

Taylor Rohleen

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The month of October brings about change through a drop in temperature, the start of the second 9 week grading period, and a so-called rise in breast cancer awareness. However, breast cancer has plagued mankind for over 3,500 years. At this point, most people know someone who has had breast cancer or are informed of this disease. So in the month of October, is it imperative to embark on breast cancer awareness, and not breast cancer treatment?

While making light of heavy situations, such as breast cancer, can be a notable way to spark conversations about the disease, society has taken the “making light” to a whole new level. The breast cancer awareness movement has become an industry that sells more than it informs, as it targets the population to purchase pink themed products instead of educating the public about breast cancer. The industry’s objective is in no way justifiable, being that hardly any of the proceeds fund breast cancer research. For instance, Dansko shoe company put pink ribbon clogs on the market in 2010.  Many consumers believed that a portion of the shoes’ profit would fund some breast cancer program; however, none of the money ended up funding research– it was all for Dansko’s profit, as they previously had set aside $25,000 for donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure (more on this organization later). This product had no intent besides spreading already omnipresent awareness and denotes how items sold for breast cancer have become a facade. Clearly, this month has become more of an industry and less of a time to create change.

Regardless of the truth, walking outside in October without seeing a pink or ribboned item is practically impossible. 5K races pop up every weekend and bring an abundance of pink gear with it. These products unintentionally tend to lengthen the connection between the idealized version of breast cancer, and the reality. As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, vomiting for hours upon hours, not being able to walk up a flight of stairs, and daily trips to a radiation oncologist were normal encounters for over a year. By now, the thought of undergoing breast cancer brings about endless quantities of trepidation, as the actuality of breast cancer is horrid. If others viewed breast cancer, or any disease, from this angle, wouldn’t they be more inclined to do something about it? Whether Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been misrepresented or deceitful is unclear. Either way, its intentions have morphed into something else.

When the day is done, the pink out games will have been played, the 5k’s will have been walked, and the “Save the Tatas” t-shirts will have been bought, but breast cancer will continue to affect every 1 in 8 women. If the purpose of Breast Cancer Awareness Month shifted to embarking on methods to educate and lessen breast cancer’s impact on the population, this holiday could become one of the past.

For more information on the topic, Think Before You Pink is a knowledgeable resource.