October tends to be a stressful month for me. School is back in full swing with a panoply of activities requiring my chauffer skills. My program year at work begins in earnest, interrupted – good and bad – by a series of holidays. While I enjoy the celebration, the office closures don’t seem to change the work demands.
And then there is PINK.
It’s hard to explain why, as a women living with metastatic breast cancer, I don’t jump on the pink bandwagon.
It supports me, right? Well, no. Wrong. Remarkably wrong.
They say your message should be no longer than the average elevator ride. So when given the opportunity to educate, here’s my shtick (3 of them actually…or one if I’m headed to the top of Sears Tower):
Most pink marketing is manipulative at best, deceptive at worst. I advise “PINK RESPONSIBLY.”
Ask yourself: HOW MUCH is GOING WHERE to do WHAT?
If the label answers your questions, terrific! If not, move on and feel good about leaving the pink crap at the store.
Want to make a difference? Send a $5 gift, or give a $5 gift card to a LOCAL charity providing direct service.
You would have to be living under a rock with a command of nothing but Aramaic to be unaware of breast cancer. It is the most over-marketed disease we have. And yet we know so little! (In fact, I’ve encountered breast cancer survivors themselves who don’t understand the critical distinction between early stage and metastatic disease.)
Approximately 30% of women with breast cancer will eventually, if not initially, have metastatic disease.
You don’t die of early stage breast cancer. Period.
Metastatic breast cancer in incurable.
Yes, breast cancer is treatable. Yes, our odds are improving. And yes, we have pathetically failed at the REAL education agenda!
METASTATIC BREAST CANCER:
In the end, it comes to this: people die from mets. While research to treat early-stage disease and to prevent breast cancer is crucial, we are still not saving lives! We MUST turn our attention to metastasis. It is not pretty, it is not optimistic, and it sure doesn’t get wrapped up in a pretty pink bow. It is easier to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that Pink-tober is making a difference. But, if we want to save the lives of our mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, friends and lovers, there is only ONE way to do that.
One might argue that the biggest bang for our buck would be to focus ALL our resources on metastatic research. Success would turn breast cancer into a treatable, survivable, chronic disease.
But that’s not what we’re asking. We’re asking for equity: 30% of the funding for the 30% most likely to die from this disease.
It is so hard to reduce this disease to soundbites, but the truth is, it is sometimes all we have. So these are my talking points. I would love to hear yours!
(Oh, but before you comment, be sure to support METAVivor – tweet or FB #MBCAware to secure another $1 for their important research grants!!)