Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Rant: Breast Cancer Awareness

Here goes my rant for the month. The month of October is "Breast Cancer Awareness" month. Every football game you will see will have the players wearing some sort of pink shit to make us all aware of breast cancer. Every store you go to has some sort of something that's pink, making you aware that there's breast cancer. And lots of places have walks, runs, bikes, or swims dedicated to breast cancer awareness.
Look, I get it. Breast cancer is devastating, and fairly common. Any cancer is. And I have no doubt about that. But this over-representation of breast cancer, in opposition, say to lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach or pancreas cancer, is getting on my nerves. I think that breast cancer is so "popular" because it's an organ we can all identify. The breast is overly sexualized in our culture, and god forbid, nobody wants to "lose" them. So, we absolutely need to "save" them. The breast is "out there", so to speak, and we can visibly see if someone has them, or if they don't. Therefore, it's a very visual thing. And because we can't see people's stomachs or pancreata, or lungs, its harder to imagine having cancer there. At least that't what I tell myself.
I also hate pink shit. I hate that a "normally associated with little girls" color (lets, say, NOT a gender-neutral color) is the color of "breast cancer awareness". I hate that pink shit is everywhere, even in the color of kitchen appliances, bathroom supplies, and food packaging. I hate that a lot of those things that are trying to make you "breast cancer aware" are actually BAD for you and could be contributing to breast cancer itself.
Most of the "pink shit" supports SOME aspects of breast cancer treatment, and some provide support in the form of medical payments, therapy, or assistance to family members in taking care of patients. I would argue (and I would hope) that the current health care laws will take the need for outside support for cancer patients away. I would hope that our medical system would improve in that way. However, I also feel that it's important to support all cancer patients. To support them in the way we support breast cancer patients. And I would argue that more money should go to research, and not marketing pink shit everywhere. If you are looking for a place to donate, the American Cancer Society is what I endorse. They support all forms of cancer, and don't play favorites with just one. They also provide research support (as in, a scientist can write a grant proposal to them, and the can give that scientist money if they like the proposal), but they also support patients. My family was devastated by prostate cancer, another hormone based cancer, just like breast cancer. But there's no "awareness" out there. Prostate surgery can be devastating (hello, losing the ability to have sex!), but again, there's no awareness because the prostate just isn't as sexy as the breast.
Next time you donate, just think about it. And please stop buying that pink shit. I just want it to go away!

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