It’s October which means birthday cake for my Mister and celebrating our wedding anniversary (21 years) but it also means the month I had a mastectomy a few years ago and it’s ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ month…go on, groan. There’s lots of negative talk about ‘pink fatigue’ and ‘the sea of pink’ or being ‘pinkified‘. I hate those terms, they trivialise the lives lost and changed forever to breast cancer.
When media speak of ‘Pink Fatigue’ they are talking about pink product overload. Products like pink packets of pasta, hair straighteners, pasta sauce, coffee, gardening gloves…what the hell do all of these items have to do with breast cancer right? Truthfully not much.
Do they trivialise the cause of raising funding for breast cancer? Sadly I think they do.
Online games like going ‘makeup free’ or letting your boobs go free seem to trivialise breast cancer too…it’s not a game.
Did you know that 6000 Australian women will endure a mastectomy this year? I bet they wish they could let their girls hang free.
I had breast cancer, still have treatment and cancer took my breasts and yet I receive negative feedback from the public about breast cancer receiving ‘too much press’. Wanna get me fired up?…just say that to me and I’ll rant away.
Breast cancer receives awareness because women and their families speak up. They walk in fundraisers even though they are ill, they hold fundraisers, write about it, do media and put themselves out there. Many voices raise awareness and make change.
Twenty years ago a quarter of all Aussie women diagnosed with breast cancer were dead within five years. Dead!
This year in Australia 15600 women and 145 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Between 1994 (when I was pregnant with my first son) and 2011 (the year before I was diagnosed) the breast cancer mortality rate fell by 30%. This means that in under 20 years lives were saved and less Aussies died from this insidious cancer.
Nobody waved a magic wand. Lives were saved because research was done. Research was done because funds were raised AND women spoke up. Researchers, governments and doctors learn plenty from listening to women talk, listening to our fears, side effects, anger, joy, sadness and more.
Research into breast cancer doesn’t just help breast cancer patients…its not exclusive, research helps ALL cancers.
But is ALL the pink in October going to research? Apparently not, some is for ‘awareness’. Look, I’m all for awareness but I’m really for ‘education’ because early detection is vital to saving lives. I also want more transparency in exactly how much money from your purchase is being given back to the breast Cancer organisations.
So then why aren’t all the products and brands who are allowed to slap pink on the packaging being clearer on exactly where the money goes and being more transparent?
Why aren’t they creating more educational campaigns?
Sure, some do but many don’t so let’s get real. If you want to flog your product by slapping a pink breast cancer logo on it then for goodness sake create some positive change through education while also donating back a specified portion of profit.
I would also like to see that the pink products have some connection with women, tissue packets, sex toys, lollies…have nothing to do with cancer. Strong women, dead women, scarred women…that’s cancer.
Families forever changed, men diagnosed with a disease set up for women…that’s shitty cancer. It’s tough, raw, sad, scary, lonely. It’s also empowering, but it’s not gumboots, mops, ped eggs or kitchen blenders. We can do better than that!
I think we need to keep products and fundraising relevant, please don’t become pink fatigued. We need research, education and support to continue, the backlash is already in progress and breast cancer patients and thrivers don’t deserve that.