Sunday, October 24, 2010

October has me seeing red because of all the pink.

I feel like I might be stoned to death for posting this.  Or, at the very least, declared insensitive.

It's a Sunday night.  I've spent much of the day cursing under my breath about "pink crap" as I've caught glimpses of various football players, coaches, and referees sporting bright. pink. crap.  Arm bands, shoes, accents on uniforms and outerwear...

First off, how exactly does the purchase of all this athletic garb reduce breast cancer rates or improve survival or quality of life for women with breast cancer?  Who is benefiting from all of these men wearing hideous stuff?  Stuff that will be used one day a week for one month, probably requires multiple iterations per player to account for wear and tear and to keep the players looking clean throughout each game, and almost certainly won't even be used again during future Pink Crap Months.  The cost and wastefulness alone boggle my mind.

October makes me angry.  This week, I couldn't even buy mushrooms without my awareness of breast cancer being raised!  

That is the goal this month, right?  Or is it to make corporations look good by standing for a cause?  And, corporations, is that even accomplished at this point?  Or perhaps every one of you feels the need to jump on the bandwagon simply to level the playing field?

And if awareness of breast cancer is raised...

Well, have we yet reached a point of diminishing returns wherein money spent on pink shoes for athletes may not pay off in producing better outcomes through early detection of breast cancer?

Here is where I really think I could be hated...

Might the continuous and, frankly, aggressive raising of awareness of a cancer that is not even women's leading cancer killer and not even close to the number one killer of women actually be a disservice?  (Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of women and heart disease kills nearly twice as many women every year as all forms of cancer combined.)

There is already a strong misconception of the likelihood of breast cancer's threat to a woman's life.

Women and their healthcare providers are often unaware of the risk of heart disease, as well as the differing symptoms of heart attack in women versus men.  Women are less likely than men to survive their first heart attacks.  According to the American Heart Association, "recent research suggests that the coronary heart disease death rate for women ages 35 to 44 actually increased annually between 1997 and 2002."

Because of misconceptions about women's risks of heart disease, my mother was misdiagnosed in 1994 and died after an almost 16-hour-long heart attack.  She thought it was a panic attack until perhaps an hour before she lost consciousness on our kitchen floor.  She was only 45.

Walking in to stores and being confronted with pink blenders, bubble wrap, and mushroom-packaging is a slap in my face.  Are women really benefiting from sales of pink appliances?  From linebackers dressed in pink?

If the barrage of pink is contributing to better outcomes for women with breast cancer - or if it is reducing the rate of breast cancer - please point me to the statistics and I will gladly bite my tongue and shut my trap.

Commence with the stoning.  I feel better now.

**I have loads of citations I feel I should make in this post but, at the moment, only one hand and only about 4 hours of sleep ahead of me.  I will provide citations later for anything requested in the comments here or on Facebook!

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