We are at the end of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month. For the past month, we’ve been innundated with pink – pink accents on football players’ uniforms, pink lids on yogurt cartons, pink labels splashed across my cereal box, and so on and so on and so on.
Is there anyone in the world who isn’t aware of breast cancer? Quite frankly, amongst those of us with breast cancer, we’re a bit put off by it all. As one of my friends wrote “I think the main point of our frustration is the feeling of being used to bolster corporate reputations, with no real benefit to women’s health care.”
Here’s what you need to know:
- Breast cancer exists in both women and men.
- Check your breasts every month. If something feels weird, get it checked out.
- Get your mammogram every year starting at age 40
- If you think something’s wrong and your health care provider isn’t listening to you, get a 2nd opinion.
I’m sorry if I’m coming across as cranky, but there has been a lot written about the commercialization of breast cancer and where the money actually goes. I’m a bit offended by the fact that salary of the former CEO of one of the big BC organizations was over $500K plus bonuses per year. That there are BC charities where less than 20% of what is given goes to research or support. That there are outfits out there that are just purely fraudulent.
A few interesting links:
- Comments about the ingredients in a perfume being used to raise funds for the Komen Foundation.
- Charity Navigator site, which rates charity programs and where their donations go
- NYTimes article on “The Pinking of America”
Breast Cancer support is an important thing. I can only urge you to do what you can, and to do what’s important to you. Maybe individual support is your thing, like all of those wonderful people who have kept me going through this. Maybe volunteering is the right thing. Maybe deciding what facet of the effort is important to you – prevention, education, support services, or research – and then designating your donation dollars to that effort is the right thing. But I’m looking a lot more closely at these blanket marketing efforts for any charity and really putting my effort and money to the ones that use my contribution in ways that I want it used, and I urge you to do the same.
As a side note, I have to acknowledge that I have received wonderful support from the American Cancer Society, both with wigs and with their wonderful “Look Good, Feel Better” program. I’ve gotten great online support from Breastcancer.org and the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. And as always, the best support has been from the friends and loved ones who have stood by my side through all of this.