This week, the MWB round-up is dedicated to the voices of women (and men) with breast cancer. I’ve shared several articles on Facebook and Twitter about the struggle that some breast cancer patients and survivors have with the deluge of pink that appears in October. I know that many people who have lost a family member or other loved one to breast cancer often buy pink because we do want this disease eradicated. However, I’ve gotten quite an education in the past few years about the need to “pink responsibly”–and to ask some questions before I hand over money for something that is branded “for breast cancer.” I want to pass along a bit of that information to you as well.
Did you know that there is an entire campaign that has arisen to help people make more educated choices about purchasing pink products? It’s called “Think Before You Pink,” and they have a great primer on questions you may want to ask before you buy that pink gear.
One major concern that I have heard raised about breast-cancer related fundraising is that a very small percentage of money raised has actually gone into research that would lead to better treatment or even a cure. In fact, for advanced cancers, many of the treatments available now are the same treatments that were used ten or twenty years ago. In this interview, breast cancer survivor and volunteer AnneMarie Ciccarella talks about the need for research advancements.
Was AnneMarie convincing? Do you want to invest a small amount of your time to possibly change the future of breast cancer? Check out the Health of Women study–anyone can sign up, and you simply fill out a survey that is sent to you periodically. Easy, free, possibly game-changing. You can participate whether you are male or female, whether you’ve had breast cancer or not. I’ve done the initial survey–it took less than 15 minutes.
Another major concern that I have heard is that some of the largest breast cancer fundraising organizations focus mostly on early stage disease. The problem with that is that most death results from advanced or metastatic breast cancer. If we want to make breast cancer less deadly, we need to tackle metastatic breast cancer. The Metastatic Breast Cancer Network is a non-profit organization that has great educational resources.
Dr. Kathleen Hoffman puts a powerful face on metastatic breast cancer in this post where she shares her mother’s story. This post is powerful and touching–and packed with good information.
One final area that often gets overlooked are folks who carry the “survivor” label. That means they have finished treatment and they may also have gotten the NED (no evidence of disease) badge. However, many survivors are coping with ongoing pain, chemobrain, lymphodema, and the fear of recurrence. The amazing ChemoBabe shared one of her survivor stories in this amazing post.
And here is the voice of another survivor who sensitively explores her own frustration and sense of marginalization when she is faced with a sea of pink.
I know that this post has only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to thoughtful posts about breast cancer, October, and pink. If you have your own favorite post, please include it in the comments for general sharing.
I am not affiliated in any way with any organization or campaign that was referenced in this post. This is simply my effort to increase awareness of the many facets of coping with breast cancer, and the urgent need for more comprehensive research.