What comes to mind when you see a pink ribbon? No, not the kind you wear in your hair. The kind you see as a pin, on an article of clothing, or as a decal on your automobile (guilty).
You think breast cancer, don’t you!?
The pink ribbon has become a powerful symbol to increase awareness of breast cancer. I believe that there is value to awareness. In this case, increasing awareness of breast cancer has led to more women getting mammograms and performing self-breast exams. This is wonderful, early detection of tumors is a very good thing! Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there; there is a dark side.
When I received my first breast cancer diagnosis, I embraced pink, I embraced the pink ribbon, I embraced the mentality I was going to fight like a girl, I embraced various cancer walks, and I embraced items that had a pink ribbon. However…
One should think before purchasing pink ribbon products or donating to a cancer walk. Many companies that sell products with a pink ribbon donate a certain percentage of each sale to breast cancer programs and many fail to indicate which organizations will receive this money. As for cancer walks, please find out to what and where your donations are going.
Here’s the thing, the story of breast cancer should not be viewed through “pink”-colored glasses.
What gets me most angry about all this pink crap is…. well, quite a bit.
Pink is such a tame, innocent, cute color. We associate pink with sweet, happy thoughts. Our brains are so clouded with pink that we fail to think, how can anyone die from a disease that is associated with such a cheery color?
Well, guess what? Many women and men will die from this disease. Yes, die. Die from this pink, commercialized disease.
Some facts on breast cancer:
40,000 women with breast cancer die every year.
Breast cancer is curable when it is contained to the breast.
6-10% of new cases of breast cancer start off as stage IV or metastatic.
30% of all breast cancers will become metastatic. (I contributed to this 30%.)
The median survival rate for metastatic breast cancer is three years.
So, when I hear that the median survival rate for metastatic breast cancer is three years, I want to raise funds to FIND A CURE.
Of all the funds raised for all types of cancer, only 5% of those funds are directed towards metastatic research (the research focused on finding a cure); most funds generated by pink ribbon products and walks only go to advertising and awareness.
Here’s the reality of it: We are well aware of cancer folks. We need research for metastatic cancers. We need to find a cure.
Pink, and the pink ribbon do not tell the dark side of breast cancer. Breast cancer, especially metastatic breast cancer is cruel. The surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, bone scans, CT scans and MRI’s are frightening. The medication side effects are unpleasant. The effect it has on our families and friends is devastating.
We wonder how much “time” we have to spend with those we love.
I have added some photos below because I want you to see the real face of breast cancer. I do not think pink when I look at them, I do not embrace pink, and I do not look at the pink ribbon like I did the first time around.