Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thinking Pink

Today I took a look at the Dayton Daily News and was just a little revolted by the fact that they used pink paper as part of their Breast Cancer Awareness push. Pink newsprint isn't very pretty....and it isn't very easy to read through.

Sometimes I think that the "thinking pink" campaigns have gone a little far. For those of us who live with breast cancer, thinking of breast cancer only during Breast Cancer Awareness month (October) or around Mother's Day (when there is another push) seems a little trite.

I also object to all the items which are sold in pink and report a "portion of the sale of this item goes for Breast Cancer Awareness". ...or something similar. Sometimes, these donation from the sale of pink items are only a very small percentage of the item's profit. The other thing which annoys me about this is that the company selling the item is able to take the tax write off as a charitable gift whereas the person making the purchase, ostensibly to help breast cancer programs gets to deduct nothing.

I suppose I'm wrong. Something is better than nothing. I suppose if 10 women are encouraged to go get mammograms or are able to be helped by the foundations supported by these companies, then the promotions are worthwhile.

On the other hand, I had been involved in the Susan Koman Race for the Cure in Connecticut for all the years it ran there while I lived there save one, and that was the first year I was diagnosed and was having surgery on the Friday before the race at Walnut Hill. Yet, in the years which have passed, we have made precious little progress.

The treatments available since the last treatment I had 12 years ago haven't changed. Tiny steps have been made forward.

How could breast cancer survivors be better served and why haven't we made more progress? I expressed this quandary with a friend of mine who was at breakfast with me. She related that someone had pointed out that what we need is a Breast specialist...just as we have specialists in various heart, brain or whatever diseases. We are treating breast cancer and breast issues piecemeal.

I agree. If someone would look at us as whole individuals and how the cancer effects all portions of our lives, perhaps we would be able to be better helped. I think of the things I have experienced, from the sexual side effects (pain, lack of interest etc) from the chemo and subsequent oophrectomy to the current issue with the fracture in my pelvis caused by the cancer and the high-dose radiation to the pelvis long after the radiation occurred. There's sort of a lackadaisical response.

I also think back to when I was nursing. I had plugged ducts. The OBGYN wasn't too interested....they were more interested in the pregnancy issues. The pediatrician didn't really know, they were interested in the health of my baby. What was really happening was the the cancer in the ductal tissue was blocking the ducts......and I simply didn't know.

Think about how it might have turned out if I was able to go to someone who actually studied the breast and knew about breast health. Think about how it might be even now if there was someone to look at all the side effects and how best to manage them now that I am a long term breast cancer survivor.

Maybe we'll get there someday. Maybe buying and thinking pink will help us get there. It just needs to be sooner....not later. Think pink, but better yet, Act Pink.


  1. Excellent post ... I'm with you 100%.

  2. My pink is found in my blog:

  3. What a great post. I am an intern for a Susan G. Komen Affiliate, and am responsible for our social media networks for our individual office. I have really been attempting the whole "Breast Cancer Awareness should NOT stop after October"....but I love your "Think pink, but better yet, Act Pink".

    I lost my mother to breast cancer-- you are so right. We need more action.

    Amazing post.