Unhappy During Pink October

Started by anonymous, October 06, 2015
17 replies for this topic
anonymous

N/A
N/A
Posted on
October 06, 2015
Sometimes October “pink” stinks. I am quiet during Breast Cancer Awareness month each year. I hunker down and just try to get through it. Am I being a bad sport? Maybe.

As a two-time cancer survivor, including breast cancer, I lament the lack of support and research for other stages, grades and types of breast cancer, and all other cancers. Yes, awareness and early detection are important for breast cancer survival but other issues with cancer are important too.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, one of my doctors told me I was very fortunate — to have an early stage garden-variety of breast cancer. I didn’t feel fortunate, though, not at all. I didn’t appropriately appreciate or comprehend his remark at the time. Now I get it. Even after surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and neuropathy, I am still going to call this cancer pale pink. As far as I know, I am not currently living with cancer and I have pretty good odds that breast cancer won’t return. (My melanoma is a different story for another day).

Why does breast cancer, especially early stage breast cancer, get so much attention, especially in October? What about metastatic breast cancer? What about all the other cancers in all the other parts of the body — and their early and advanced stages? Aren’t all cancer survivors in need of support? Aren’t all cancers in need of research dollars? To a pale pink survivor, this just feels crazy. I want to slink quietly around through October and wait for the pink to go away for another year.

I know I am not the only early stage breast cancer survivor who is bothered by this. It is actually kind of embarrassing, especially during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to watch everything from yogurt cartons to building construction materials turn pink for a month. Some of us put our heads down all the way through October. Come on people, think beyond pink. Think beyond early stage breast cancer prevention and treatment. We need solutions when the cancer has spread — especially then. We need research to cure that too.

People with late stage cancer and uncommon cancers are justified in feeling angry and bitter. Those of us who have pale pink cancer have a moral obligation to help. We know what cancer is — we’ve lived it too. We understand the pain, the fear and the worry. Let’s be part of the solution, not the problem.

How can we address this? Make major companies aware that they need to get on board in supporting other types of cancer research. As pale pink survivors, support organizations and research institutions and hospitals that finance, research and treat all cancers. When you purchase pink products, pay careful attention to how many research dollars are truly getting donated by big businesses to help fight cancer.

Lobby for all cancers to be addressed. Raise public awareness and support. Hospitals and clinics could offer support groups or provide one-on-one volunteer support for each type of cancer — not just breast cancer. Every cancer would also benefit from strong online presences including websites and Facebook.

You would think we, as a society, are equally supportive to all cancers but we are not.

Think past pink. Unfortunately, there are many colors in the cancer rainbow.
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BarbaraTako

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
October 06, 2015
Sometimes October “pink” stinks. I am quiet during Breast Cancer Awareness month each year. I hunker down and just try to get through it. Am I being a bad sport? Maybe.

As a two-time cancer survivor, including breast cancer, I lament the lack of support and research for other stages, grades and types of breast cancer, and all other cancers. Yes, awareness and early detection are important for breast cancer survival but other issues with cancer are important too.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, one of my doctors told me I was very fortunate — to have an early stage garden-variety of breast cancer. I didn’t feel fortunate, though, not at all. I didn’t appropriately appreciate or comprehend his remark at the time. Now I get it. Even after surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and neuropathy, I am still going to call this cancer pale pink. As far as I know, I am not currently living with cancer and I have pretty good odds that breast cancer won’t return. (My melanoma is a different story for another day).

Why does breast cancer, especially early stage breast cancer, get so much attention, especially in October? What about metastatic breast cancer? What about all the other cancers in all the other parts of the body — and their early and advanced stages? Aren’t all cancer survivors in need of support? Aren’t all cancers in need of research dollars? To a pale pink survivor, this just feels crazy. I want to slink quietly around through October and wait for the pink to go away for another year.

I know I am not the only early stage breast cancer survivor who is bothered by this. It is actually kind of embarrassing, especially during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to watch everything from yogurt cartons to building construction materials turn pink for a month. Some of us put our heads down all the way through October. Come on people, think beyond pink. Think beyond early stage breast cancer prevention and treatment. We need solutions when the cancer has spread — especially then. We need research to cure that too.

People with late stage cancer and uncommon cancers are justified in feeling angry and bitter. Those of us who have pale pink cancer have a moral obligation to help. We know what cancer is — we’ve lived it too. We understand the pain, the fear and the worry. Let’s be part of the solution, not the problem.

How can we address this? Make major companies aware that they need to get on board in supporting other types of cancer research. As pale pink survivors, support organizations and research institutions and hospitals that finance, research and treat all cancers. When you purchase pink products, pay careful attention to how many research dollars are truly getting donated by big businesses to help fight cancer.

Lobby for all cancers to be addressed. Raise public awareness and support. Hospitals and clinics could offer support groups or provide one-on-one volunteer support for each type of cancer — not just breast cancer. Every cancer would also benefit from strong online presences including websites and Facebook.

You would think we, as a society, are equally supportive to all cancers but we are not.

Think past pink. Unfortunately, there are many colors in the cancer rainbow.
Report
benji3rd

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
October 06, 2015
I was diagnosed with vaginal cancer in 1998 and it was so hard even speaking about it. You have what? I always wondered why I never heard of it. Its not popular, its rare but I went thru surgery chemo radiation (internal and external) and felt almost embarrassed that people would talk in hush hush tones about it. I talked about it because I wanted people to know there is such a thing. My 80 yr old dad was on the phone talking to his golf buddy telling him I had been dx'd with cancer. The friend asked what kind? He answered VAGINA!! I was mortified...but now can smile about it. Its vaginal, dad. I bet it was one of the topics durings golf outing but thats okay if even one wife is aware that there is a VAGINA cancer (and vulvar). Hugs to all the wonderful cancer survivors.. Paula in Ohio
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Pegmr

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
October 06, 2015
Hurrah for you! The questions can be unnerving.I love your attitude. Humor helps so much. No explanation can suffice because 'curious minds want to know', and if they haven't walked through a cancer journey they just don't get it.
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THRIVR

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
October 07, 2015
I grow weary of this argument popping up every October. Instead of lamenting the fact that breast cancer has an entire month dedicated to it, and that your cancer isn't as "popular," why not embrace the breast cancer model that brings it so much attention; learn from their strategies' drastically improve upon them; and use them to bring attention to the need for funding/additional research to the cancer of your choice? I'm far from a Nancy Brinker apologist, but before she did what I just described, no one was exactly jumping on the breast cancer bandwagon. Want change in the world? It begins with you.
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benji3rd

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
October 08, 2015
Thanks thrivr.... BUT I HAVE taken steps in that direction 10 yrs ago and its frustrating to work to get the word out about vaginal cancer when its so rare..along with vulvar cancer. 3% chance of getting vag ca. I do embrace and am happy that breast cancer and check ups have come to the forefront and more women are catching it earlier and earlier. That more women are getting mammos every yr. So.. and it has begun with me 10 yrs ago and some other ladies I know but its not going to happen overnight. Not trying to change the world..just bringing attention to another cancer that is not as well known.
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Toad

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
October 09, 2015
Thanks Barbara! My husband was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in 2003. He passed away in 2014. I thought that I was the only one that dreaded Pinktober.
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suebee9

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
October 10, 2015
I've had 2 different breast cancers, and I too am tired of awareness messages and all the companies making profits off the color pink in October. The one organization that is working to find out the causes of cancer, ways to detect it earlier, understanding the different behaviors of tumors in different age and ethnic groups is the Doctor Susan Love Research Foundation. They need women 18 and older, with or without a history of breast cancer to participate in research projects that are not drug trials, usually simple, often can do from home (questionnaires, cheek swabs or saliva). Take a look at www.armyofwomen.org and the current research still looking for volunteer. Information about using the site, how your info is protected is all there in FAQs, and each research project has similar info. Studies have includedlooking at healthy donated breast tissue before and after use of Depoprovera (injectable contraceptive); differences in microbiome of intestine between women with and without cancer history; use of breast milk to detect chemical changes that might indicate cancer; looking at bacterial or viral presence in breast duct fluid. The Health of Women Study is a long term, on line survey study, looking at familial, environmental, nutritional, factors in healthy women and women with a history of breast cancer or any cancer. There are currently over 44,000 participants. Dr. Love has been gathering scientists together every other year to share ideas and results of research in these areas of interest. She is also promoting cooperation between different researchers with different areas of expertise. You can check out the foundation website at www.dslrf.org to find her posts about current research as well as a wealth of info on breast cancer. There are blue-light blocking glasses to prevent insomnia caused by the lights of our devices; maybe someone will someday make ones to block pink!
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Buckeyeoak

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
October 10, 2015
I too, do not look forward to the Pinktober month. I understand the importance of all things relating to women and breast cancer, but, there are many other equally important cancers that females and males face as well that need more awareness and research. I was diagnosed with a very rare cancer in 2011 called Neuroendocrine Tumor Cancer( Carcinoid type). They stopped researching this cancer back in the 60's because it was so rare. Those of us that have this disease have fought just to have a National Neuroendocrine Cancer Awareness day on Nov. 10th every year. It is sad that there are people dying from this disease too, but it isn't even a recognizable type of cancer. This is the type of cancer that Steve Jobs of the Apple Corp suffered from, but he did nothing with his notariaty to get awareness out there of this disease. People just think that he had Pancreatic cancer. He actually had Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor Cancer. So many good things could have come to light if he had just told the world his proper diagnosis. It truly makes me sad to think of all the positive things that could have happened in terms of awareness and research just from someone of his magnitude could have brought to the forefront of a very real and serious type of cancer.
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nvm

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
October 10, 2015
Thank you for saying what I have thought. I am 4 years out from breast cancer and my best friend is just finishing treatment and we were just talking about this. Maybe it is up to all of us to write a letter to our editors and tell them this month should be Cancer awareness month, not just breast. Sadly, I know so many people that are suffering from other types of cancers or have passed away from other types of cancers. Breast cancer, in a way has now become an acceptable or what seems to be a curable cancer. When I was diagnosed some responses i received were oh my mother had it, you should be fine. And as a survivor (which I am not thrilled about the term) no one seems to understand that going through chemo and radiation isn't the end. I suffer from all kinds of long term effects and this pink everywhere is nauseating. I am grateful for the awareness but maybe it is time ALL of us make the rest of the world aware that is much much more than just breast cancer and maybe it should become something other than Pink.
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annon123456

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
October 10, 2015
I have had breast cancer on both sides, follicular non-hodgkin's lymphoma (no cure), very early colon twice now and some basel cell skin cancers... and I hate all the symbols of breast cancer. Why why why is BC the only cancer we are supposed to be connected to for life? Why is it not acceptable to NOT make that stupid cancer the center of our lives? The approach the non-hodgkin's lymphoma community is like a breath of fresh air. No ribbons, no colors, no pressure to always think of your self first as a cancer patient/victim/survivor of a war, etc.etc.etc. The role we are cast into drives me nuts. Cancer is not who I am it is what I have or had depending on the cancer. AND I do not care to broadcast that I have had cancer multiple times on my sleeve, t-shirt, car, etc. It is no one's d**n business what or how many cancers I have or have had unless I personally care to choose to share it with an individual person. Cancer has trashed my job search, made me homeless when I ran out of money (no medicaid expansion in this state so almost all the money I earn goes to health insurance and making payments to MD Anderson Cancer center so they don't cut off care), none of these organizations care to help me advertise my gofundme so I can catch up on my medical bills and rent an apartment (main gofundme website then /78d3nc) rather than couch surf - nope they want me to donate to them instead. Why on earth would I celebrate cancer? Show it off? The last thing I need is a future employer to find out I have had cancer by seeing me march in some parade, take part in some walk/run event, wear a t-shirt announcing to the world that I had cancer. Multiple times. If people want to do that - fine. Just don't judge me or try to pressure me to play a part of this and imply that there is something wrong with me when I want to shut the door on October and move directly on to November (well we can keep Halloween but that's about it). Cancer, any kind of cancer, sucks and I sure as heck don't need a month of focusing on breast cancer with the daily reminders. The breast cancer marketing machines can keep their pink, their ribbons, their marketing ploys and attempts to guilt me into into defining who I am around that cancer. Nope not happening.
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