Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Kind of nice or a load of crap?

Hi there,

So, it’s October, which means it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The topic came up over the weekend while I was at an annual ladies’ getaway to the Jersey Shore with Laura, Mrs. G (Laura’s mom), and Mrs. Byrne (Laura’s mom’s close friend). We discussed whether we were on board with the cancer awareness months. Here’s what we decided:

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month is clearly the most popular and gets the most media attention of any of the cancer months. We need to pay more attention to other cancers, especially pancreatic cancer (which has such a high death rate) and lung cancer (which often has little sympathy because it’s associated with smokers).

  • We’re a little tired of all the Breast Cancer Awareness products. Stores are stocked with ridiculous items like a pink nail polish with a pink ribbon on it. Sure, some proceeds go to breast cancer, but it’s often as little as 3 - 10 %. Why can’t companies donate money to cancer charities in a subtle way? The products seem so showy – for the companies and the consumers.

  • Why should just one month be associated with a specific cancer? Why shouldn’t we be charitable and aware every month?
I couldn’t help but relate to these arguments. While I feel grateful to the pancreatic cancer foundations like Lustgarten and PanCAN, I don’t feel at ease participating in the events like charity walks or fundraisers. Each year I debate doing the walk, especially because my mom, dad, and brother did the walk when my mom was sick. But it just feels forced. I can’t tell if I’m being a chicken, or if I just feel funny buying into it.

On the other hand, I admire people who embrace the charitable activities, in particular my cousin Deena who will walk for 3 days straight to raise money for breast cancer, since her mom is a survivor. I wish I had her courage.

What do you think about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or cancer awareness months in general? Kind of nice or a load of BS?