Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tag a Friend.

Now I can't speak for all chemo kids but as far as I'm concerned, October - or rather the more aptly named Pinktober - can take a hike.

As a reminder, Pinktober is the time of year when retailers throughout the land come together to slap shiny pink ribbons on various merchandise to make money hand over fist promote breast cancer "awareness".

Who's winning the Race for the Cure?
And because pretty much any product is more appealing with a little "philanthropic bling" - and there is no regulation on pink-ribbon use - over the years marketing geniuses have brought us pink ribbon toilet paper, tic-tacs, canned soup, football uniforms, make up, cleaning solutions and my personal favorite - bucket o' chicken.  Because hey, why not combine the number one (heart disease) and number two (breast cancer) killers of women with 11 herbs and spices?


Ironically, many pink-ribbon-wielding products contain known carcinogens.  And donations provided to cancer causes by said companies are often either limited, unstated or capped. Which means despite the onslaught of Pinktober breast cancer "awareness" campaigns there is precious little progress being made towards preventing or curing breast cancer.

And all of this irony tied up in a pretty pink ribbon tends to cause me - and many others in the crowds I run with these days - to grit my teeth throughout pretty much the entire month of Pinktober.

But lately I've noticed a disturbingly unseasonal pink leak.  Namely, the latest round of breast cancer awareness "selfies"on Facebook.  This game involves 1.  Posting a photo without makeup.  2.  Tagging a friend with instruction to do the same.  3.  Reading the comments friends inevitably post about how gorgeous you are without makeup.
Anyone else see the irony in this display?  

Awareness huh?

This game supports breast cancer in the same way Paula Deen supports diabetes "awareness".  Or instagramming a photo of your lunch supports Somalian refugee "awareness."

It doesn't.

But because I now have your attention and you are hopefully taking a break from taking pictures with your junk in a sock to promote testicular cancer awareness (also circulating on the inter-webs currently) here are some actual statistics about breast cancer that are even more concerning than "friends without makeup".

The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed this year.  

40,000 women will die from breast cancer in 2014.

And here are some statistics that I have been particularly "aware" of since my own diagnosis:

Women ages 15-35 and 35-40 die more frequently from breast cancer than any other cancer.  

Lest we forget what real breast cancer
 awareness selfies look like.

And compared to older women, young women generally face more aggressive cancers and have lower survival rates.

"Awareness" of this disease - however well meaning - isn't enough.  We are dying out here, folks.  And that's not a euphemism.

To all of my sweet friends and family who have tagged me in posts or posted your gorgeous naked faces - I love you so much.  You are beautiful and kind - and I know you support me in this fight.

And to the rest of you out there - if you enjoy wearing pink, please continue to do so.  If you like to post photos without makeup  - by all means, go nuts.  And if you like to post photos of your junk in a sock - well that's just weird but I'm not here to judge.  All I ask is that you please be an informed consumer and don't be swayed by the almighty pink ribbon.

Think before you pink.