October and I have a love-hate relationship, not because of cooler days, longer sleeves or Halloween treats, its Breast Cancer Awareness month. Many affected by breast cancer know what’s coming and brace for the sudden ambush of pink ribbons, pink products, and pink events commonly known as Pinktober.
Pinktober was started to increase awareness of breast cancer, however, marketers have taken advantage of the commercialism. Pink ribbons appear on products and appeal to buyers as a sense of supporting a cause when some do, many do not and use this to their advantage. Many of us find it overwhelming and sometimes even offensive. How can big businesses create and sell products that in no way impact the future of those with breast cancer?
For many, this month brings a range of emotions, reminders of loved ones lost, women fighting their own battles, the realness of the disease, fear of re-occurrence, fear of a diagnosis, proud survivors/previvors/thrivers, and/or courage of a battle won. As a breast cancer survivor, I am thankful for a month dedicated to the awareness even if it means being flooded with pink products from tea to nail polish. I know purchasing all those products isn’t going to change much, and since being diagnosed with cancer my life will be forever altered and no amount of pink product will ever change that. On the positive side, it does cause more women to think about their breasts and the risks associated.
This month 2 years ago I found a lump in my breast while showering. For the entire month of October, I awaited tests, results, and phone calls I was constantly reminded of cancer. It was everywhere I looked, shopped, tv commercials, and events. I continually thought this must be a sign and sure enough November 1, I was diagnosed with stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma that had spread to my lymph nodes.
If I only knew then what I know now! Women, girls, friends…. You are all at some risk. Breast cancer contributes to 25% of all cancer diagnoses. Screening is not enough, you MUST check yourself, advocate for yourself, and be aware of signs and symptoms. When I was 30 if I had been more diligent of my family history and own genetic make-up I could of pre-vented and/or decreased the spread.
This month commit to yourself. Be aware of the pink-washing that occurs and if you are going to support breast cancer programs “Think Before You Pink”. You can make a difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer.
Does any money from this purchase go to support breast cancer?
What organization will get the money?
Is there a cap on how much the company will donate?
Support local programs.
I never paid much attention to breast cancer awareness before I was diagnosed, I can only hope that is not the case for my friends and family. Take the month and commit to learning more about breast cancer, treatment, prevention, and supports. You deserve that.