Ladies, get out your pink apparel, it’s breast cancer awareness month. Let us “celebrate” with pink cupcakes, pink tutus, pink hair dye and the pink bracelets that remind us to “save the ta-ta’s!” Over the past couple of years, America has glamorized the disease that affects one in eight women at least once in their life.
The critically acclaimed “Pinktober” campaign launched by Hard Rock Cafe each October aims to raise awareness and show support of those undergoing cancer treatments and survivors that have successfully overcome the hell that is breast cancer.
But can we put a 31-day limit on awareness of a cancer that takes almost 40,000 lives a year? Is there power in simply wearing pink to sporting events, walkathons and other non-conventional places in order to make a statement?
At certain points in the calendar year, there are appropriate times for specific colors, like red for holiday times and pastels in the spring, but something does not sit well with me when I see people buying excessive amounts of pink apparel for one specific month of the year. Both the NHL and NFL show support of breast cancer awareness with pink laces, socks, towels, flags and even pucks. The pink ribbon is in the corner of each billboard advertisement located in the stadium and found at the corner of TV screens for the entire month. According to Business Insider, the NFL sends approximately 5 percent of pink apparel sales to the American Cancer Society, leaving the rest of the profits to benefit the corporation itself.
Although the campaign was designed to promote awareness, we take “awareness” to a whole new level. As someone who has seen this disease fatally deteriorate lives, I strongly believe more should be done in every month, rather than just one. I have been beside someone battling breast cancer up until the week the disease took their life, and no T-shirt saying “Save the ta-ta’s!” could have changed the way the cancer would run its course.
Essentially, yes, “Pinktober” gets social media buzzing and allows patients to feel support. However, the underlying goal is a definite cure. There are not enough likes on Instagram of a man in a pink tutu to make up for the head of hair lost by a patient currently battling breast cancer, but with time comes progress.
Today, there are approximately 2.8 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States, meaning 2.8 million stories of struggles, defeats and victories. Almost 3 million people have the opportunity to share their ultimate triumphs. With the right support (year round), we can separate from “Pinktober” and its consumeristic habits and move into a positive, reassuring new light.