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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Across the country you can find burly football players decked in pink, buildings sporting breast cancer ribbons and pink cookies for sale, all to benefit breast cancer research. Now, don’t get me wrong; I think it’s incredible that supporting a good cause has become so mainstream. But I can’t help but wonder why it always has to be about the boobs.
The fact of the matter is there are still countless diseases going untreated because of lack of knowledge about the ailments and fewer viable options for treatment.
I will admit that there is a strong bias in my stance. As a childhood cancer survivor, I find myself cringing at the relentless following of this fad, and I still wonder why there’s no “Leukemia Awareness Month” or “Heart Disease Awareness Month” (the leading causes of child death and over all death in the U.S., respectively). Each year in the U.S., 597,689 people die from various forms of heart disease, and these rates have only increased over the past 10 years. However, instead of focusing the socialized efforts of a “disease month” on the No. 1 killer, efforts are focused on a disease that is falling in numbers.
What’s more, a majority of the proceeds raised during Breast Cancer Awareness Month never even go to researchers or patients but rather are used to fund other pink paraphernalia. Many companies flaunt the pink ribbons and use this marketing tool to up-sell their products, but what some consumers don’t understand is that a good portion of these proceeds are “capped.” This means once a certain amount is reached, no more proceeds from that product are given to the cause.
Additionally, many of the companies selling “breast cancer awareness” are still selling products infested with chemicals that have been proven to cause cancer. The pink ribbon alone has insurmountable carcinogens that could be linked to cancer. I can’t help but feel that it is all a scam.
I am not trying to downplay the harsh reality that is breast cancer. This disease is still the No. 2 killer of women in the U.S. annually, and nearly everyone (myself included) can rattle off one, if not more, acquaintances, family members or friends that have been affected by this disease. I do not want the funding to go away. I wish that the funding would be more universal and less of a marketing technique for companies and sponsors that don’t seem to care. It is always a good time to donate money to a positive cause; you don’t have to wrap yourself in pink tissue paper to do it.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sophie Junak at Sophie.firstname.lastname@example.org.