Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A 12-month-a-year job, not just October

Rethinking breast cancer awareness: Should our focus be on pink ribbons or a cure?

This month, October, is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


The media has been crammed, as it now is every year, with sympathetic tales — of survivors, of breakthroughs in research, of the medical world being soooo close to a miracle cure.

The original idea purportedly was to promote mammography. As for the pink ribbon component, it was an outgrowth of the yellow ones worn in 1979 in solidarity with American hostages in Iran — and, later on, the red ribbons that signified AIDS awareness.

And we’re all inundated with pink this and pink that, with corporations donating modest amounts to breast cancer research.

Yoga pants — only $34.98.
The now-global awareness campaign began in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of what has become AstraZeneca.

The pink symbols flourished when the Susan G. Komen Foundation started handing them out in 1991 to runners who took part in its New York City breast cancer survivors’ race.

But some folks — and I, Woody Weingarten, the author of "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," count myself among them — believe the initial concept was hijacked by Big Business and became a profit-making distraction (some have labeled it “a red herring”) from what is most important: finding answers to what causes the disease.

And finding a cure.

Awareness must become a 24/7 job, 52 weeks a year, 12 months annually — every year until one is found.

No comments:

Post a Comment