Monday, September 30, 2013


It's that wonderful time of year! That time of year when the world looks like it has thrown up Pepto-Bismol everywhere. Ah yes, the lovely Pinktober, when the world is full of pink! And ribbons! And boobs!

Pardon me while I go and bury my head in the sand for this month. I'm over it. Guess what? I had breast cancer, I don't need to walk into my local stores and see nothing but pink to make me aware. My guess is, for most of you reading this blog (and most of America), neither do you. I've never met someone who isn't aware of breast cancer.

That's not to say, I know lots of people who aren't properly educated about breast cancer. But awareness and education are two different things. So are, frankly, awareness and action. And while all these feel good campaigns are out there to tell us that the 5 year survival rate has gone up (which is good, don't get me wrong), what they leave out is the deaths per 100,000 women has remained almost the same - in 1970, 28.4 in every 100,000 women died from breast cancer. In 2012? It was 26.1 deaths in every 100,000 women. Do you see this? Do you see? We've managed to save 2 women out of every 100,000 in 40 years.

Now, obviously this is awesome news for those 2 women. However, this is really terrible news for the other 26. Does this seem like progress to you? Are you happy with this?

Breast cancer probably gets the most attention. Especially in Ocotber, when we are inundated with messages about saving the boobs, save second base, etc, etc.

Well, pardon me while I tell you, I don't care about saving the boobs, tits, breasts, second bases, whatever name you want to call them. I want to save lives. I'm tired of pink everywhere, of boobs everywhere, all in the name of a cure that we haven't managed to find yet.

Do I seem angry? Yes. Probably because I've lost too many people to breast cancer and know too many more right now living with stage IV cancer. I've known too many people who are still dealing with side effects of treatment, who might not have cancer now, but worry about (not if) but when it will come back? Who look at their bodies and feel terrible about the scars, the implants, the lack of nipples. Who have to walk around the entire month of October and see boobs everywhere and hear about how we want to save breasts.

I believe the message started off innocently enough - bring people together, unite over a ribbon, but it seems lately it's been commercialized. Now I see products in pink with ribbons on the package, but read the fine print - the company isn't giving money to any group, they are simply making it pink, charging more, and hoping you'll feel so good about buying pink you won't notice they are pocketing all the money.

This is not to say that I am bothered by those who wear pink to support friends, family members, spouses, grandparents, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, etc. No. That is different - that is people coming together to show support. I love that, and I love stories about it. This is not what I'm talking about though.

I'm talking about ads with breasts and a nice little pink ribbon telling you to buy pink stuff to help the fight. Never mind the fact that they would never in a million years, allow the breasts of a breast cancer survivor to be in their ads. Because, despite the fact that many of us have implants, and people joke about how we got a boob job, our breasts are not pretty. They are not gorgeous. They'd never make the cut for an ad.

This is how October makes me feel. In talking to others, I know I'm not alone in this. {I also know some survivors embrace and love it}. I love people coming together. I love people wanting to do good in this world. I think as a society we could do this so much better - we could come together in a way where real education is shared, where actions take place, where October isn't just a month for companies to try to sell pink stuff.

That is what I dream of. That is what I long to see. Not more boobs. Not more meaningless pink stuff. Let's work on changing the mortality rate in big ways, let's work on coming together to make a big difference. I'm not sure how we do this, but I know we can.

How about you? How does Pinktober make you feel?
28.4 number in 1970
28.4 number in 1970
It was 28.4 in the same 100,000 women.
It was 28.4 in the same 100,000 women.


  1. The implications go so far beyond the pink and the cheer. I think that can be needed - the cheer and the hope and the fundraising - they are important tools . .. but support, research, and real awarenss that breast cancer isn't the 'easy cancer' should be the core, I reckon . . . this is a disease that takes lives.

  2. My SIL's brain mets aren't getting any smaller and now there's a spot on her liver. Pinktober makes me feel like I should post a fact a day (or more) about breast cancer. I might start with some of the ones you included in this post.

  3. It does make me sad that companies are abusing the color for profit. Even the companies that are giving, are usually giving very little. And I'd rather just send in my check than waste my time collecting lids that I have to spend more on postage that they'll be donating!


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