October Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2014 has already passed. While the cause of increasing awareness is good, it seemed to be past its peak, even tired. Was the ‘pinkwashing’ of everything to blame? Or was it something else?
No Need to ‘Pink’ Everything
Increasing awareness is a noble cause. Yet, as in October Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2014, trying to make everything pink can do more harm than good. Let us explain. During this time of the year, lots of companies put the pink ribbon on their products regardless of what the products are. Some ‘pink’ products that these companies sell actually do harm. The reason is that some of them contain BPA which may increase the risk of developing breast cancer. This is ironic.
Another problem with ‘pinkwashing’ is that many people buy the product without knowing exactly how much of the money is donated, to where and how it is spent. What is not being realized is that the fund of metastasized breast cancer is smaller compared to the fund of awareness increasing. Metastasized breast cancer research should be the focus since cancer at this stage is what really kills the patients.
Other Ways to Support the Cause
There are lessons we can learn from October Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2014 and years before it. First, as we have mentioned earlier, put the funding in the right place. More money should be donated to research that is focused on metastasized breast cancer. Breast cancer awareness is indeed important, but it should not be the only focus.
Second, there are other ways to support the cause other than increasing awareness and buying ‘pink’ products. Breast cancer patients, especially those who are late stage, need support. This does not have to be difficult. In fact, you can do small things for breast cancer patients that will help them tremendously.
For instance, you can be a friend, a listener where they can tell you their story. Cancer patients are often called ‘fighter’ or ‘courageous. This can be a burden for them. They are still human, they don’t want and don’t need to be a fighter or courageous all the time. On the contrary, what they need is a friend who they can share a story with.
Or, you can support them by doing some tasks. Cleaning their bathroom, driving their kids to school, driving them to their doctor walking their dogs, cleaning their house and lawn, babysit or other daily activities. These sound simple but no doubt will help the patient greatly. Many cancer patients, breast cancer patients are no exception, often heard their friends say they will be at their side and they will help them. The fact is, many don’t follow their words and leave the patients alone. This is why it is important.
Having Breast Cancer Awareness Month is still important. After all, the earlier the cancer is detected the better the patient’s life expectancy will be. But, awareness should not be the sole focus. If anything, putting the pink ribbon on everything during this month only over saturates things. Other important things, such as later stage breast cancer research funding and helping the patients directly should also be emphasized since both of these are as important as, if not more, than raising awareness.