Yesterday I was speaking to a friend and he asked me whether I was annoyed that breast cancer awareness gets its own month. The simple answer to this questions is no, I really don’t mind that breast cancer gets its own month. But since I am a blogger and like to ramble about anything I will provide a longer answer below.
First, I think it is great how the breast cancer awareness organizations have brought so much attention to their cause. The marketing efforts by these organizations have been insanely successful. When I see any pink item I immediately think of breast cancer. Every time I use my pink five-gallon bucket from Runnings I am reminded of breast cancer. Whenever I see someone in a pink t-shirt I think of breast cancer. I tip my pink hat to these organizations for having such a huge impact on breast cancer awareness.
Not only are these organizations raising awareness of breast cancer, they are also raising massive amounts of money to research and battle breast cancer. As someone with a type of blood cancer which is currently incurable, I have hope research will offer me a way in the future to rid myself of cancer. I was just reading about a cool new wearable device that will allow breast cancer patients to be monitored by light pulses to see the real-time effects of chemotherapy. If the trials of this device are successful it will help chemo patients with other forms of cancer. That would include those with blood cancer such as my myself. The funding for this research comes from The American Cancer Society, which of course benefits tremendously from Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Research done into any type of cancer has the potential to help all cancer patients.
I should also mention that breast cancer is not the only cancer with its own awareness month. Below is a calendar from Cancer101 website showing the different cancer awareness months and their corresponding ribbon color. My cancer type lymphoma has a lime-green ribbon and has the month of September as its awareness month (along with a LOT of other types of cancer). Personally I’m not really into these awareness ribbons, but I do see the value of them for raising awareness.
I have communicated with some cancer patients who are somewhat annoyed that breast cancer seems to get all the attention. Personally I prefer to look at how every cancer patient benefits from any attention brought to cancer awareness, even if it is a type I don’t have. Life is too short to bring identity politics into such an important issue.