Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Controversies Surrounding Pinktober

As I stated yesterday, the onslaught of pink has descended in every store for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  You may not know this, but in the breast cancer community, there is some controversy about this pink-ness.  Some issues:

1) Some survivors feel the decorating of all things pink trivializes what is definitely NOT a cute, friendly disease.

2) Some companies who put a pink ribbon on their product to sell in October actually give NOTHING to any breast cancer organizations for your purchase.  The pink ribbon is not owned by anyone, so any company can put it on anything to get you to buy it in October.  Please read packages to see if they say what charity they support.  Also, some products that get a pink ribbon on them actually have ingredients that may CAUSE breast cancer!  Want to see a list?  Please purchase wisely.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Ribbon
3) And this is a big one for people like me ... they say the pink ribbon is all about finding a CURE, very
important to those of us who have been told that there is NOT a cure for our metastatic cancer.  Yet, the funding in cancer research doesn't seem to match up.  They don't put their money where their mouth is.  Here is an excerpt from an article from last year's Ann Arbor News that I think sums up the issue very well.

Dr. Max Wicha, director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and a breast cancer specialist, "Despite considerable progress we have made in fighting breast cancer, unfortunately, metastatic breast cancer is still not curable and accounts for virtually all of the deaths from this disease."
Dr. Wicha has been working hard to change that. His research aimed at attacking breast cancer stem cells offers hope to improve the outlook for metastatic disease. (Read my article about that here.)
But shockingly, funding for metastatic disease research is puny. The National Institutes of Health has, for the last several years, allocated about twice as much to the study of breast cancer than it has allocated to any other type of cancer, yet metastasis gets less than 5 percent of the research budget, according to metastasis expert Danny Welch, Ph.D.
If cure is the goal, why isn't more allocated to understanding and finding ways to stop the real killer? The number of deaths could be drastically reduced if research funding for metastatic disease were equal to the need, says Kelly Lange, vice president and program grants coordinator for METAvivor."
By writing this post, I'm not saying I feel the same way, but I wanted to show everyone a taste of what those inside the breast cancer community are talking about.  The message boards are HOT this week on these topics, with a range of opinions, but mostly these are the issues.  

1 comment:

  1. Very thought provoking post. All these colourful ribbons we wear - pink ribbon for breast cancer; red ribbon for HIV; Yellow ribbon for women & child abuse; black ribbon for rhino poaching; there is a ribbon and "month" for almost everything, but does it really make a difference; does the money we spend on ribbons etc. really go to research or saving a rhino or stop a child from being abused or do we just do it to ease our conscience. Breast Cancer month is a stark reminder that we should go have a mammogram, but do we or do we carry on with life with "It will never happen to me" syndrome most of us suffer from? It would be totally understandable if you felt that it trivialised the disease. Take care