…after having breast cancer and reconstruction. What a change in perspective. All the pink makes me want to puke. Not P!nk the artist, whom I adore, but the color pink that has been co-opted as a fund-raising tool. There is nothing wrong with fund-raising for a cancer that will impact 1 in every 8 American women. (Remember that lung cancer still is the number one cancer killer of women, and most cases are preventable.) The problem is where do those $$ go? For what purpose? Read the not-so-fine print and you will see that proceeds go to “breast cancer awareness month” without designated organizations or what amount of your donation actually goes to the cause.
Also, you should consider that if you want to “give to breast cancer” – what aspect of breast cancer? Prevention, screening, treatment, research? Prevention of any type of cancer is a tough issue to deal with. There is rarely one factor that causes cancer. Even women with strong genetic susceptibility to breast cancer will not all develop the disease. Women who lead the most healthy lifestyles can get cancer. (Fat, post-menopausal women are at higher risk, sigh.) Women who lead more unhealthy lifestyles might never get cancer. Screening – many women have no access to mammograms, which have their own problems with false negatives and false positives. Treatment – women with metastatic disease clamor for more effective drugs and rightfully so. My little ol’ Stage 0 cancer is now 20% of new breast cancers yet we still don’t know which ones will progress and which could sit forever in the ducts never causing any problems. This is after more than 20 years of well-designed randomized controlled trials. So, we all get the same recommendation and many of us opt for aggressive treatment, and some of us (OK, me) who have lost 140 pounds know that the standard of care would leave devastating cosmetic results, so we opt to lop off our breasts. Research – certainly more is needed but how much more profit do pharmaceutical companies need, and who is to say what amount of profit is too much?
Many others have written much more eloquently about these issues. I will just leave you with a few images that I shot at the grocery store yesterday. But first, be sure to purchase your favorite firearm in pink this month. Leave ’em laughing at the range.
At the check out counter when the clerk asked if I wanted to donate, it was all I could do to stop myself from saying, “I already gave my breasts to cancer.”