Breast Cancer is a terrifying reality for women today. If you ask people about it, most people have known someone who has experienced breast cancer or experienced it themselves. Working for a hospice center, most of the patients I work for are in hospice because of either Alzheimer’s or cancer and all of my patients are women. Due to this cancer reality for women, the breast cancer culture has taken over.
This cancer culture is a touchy subject for some, including one of the women I work with regularly. The cancer culture seems to undermine the struggles of breast cancer for women around the world. It adds pink and frills, rather than strength and true emotional and psychological support. In America you can see breast cancer runs and campaigns everywhere you go, but often you cannot actually tell where that money is going. A large portion of the money goes to the campaign itself and the rest seems to go to research for this all encompassing cure. In my experience with cancer patients and their doctors, this “cure” is an unrealistic goal. Instead of searching for a cure we should concentrate more on prevention and a comfortable way of living. About a month ago, a doctor told me that breast cancer should not be striving towards a cure but much like HIV, towards a form of illness management. Also spending so much on the cure is taking away money that could be spend on cancer patient families and comfort for breast cancer patients. This is a topic that the US postal service brought up about their stamp campaign, not all of the money should go to the same place. Another negative about the breast cancer culture is that, often, all the pink and strength seems to be pointless. Every year my high school had “Pink Week” all in the name of breast cancer but we never actually talked about cancer or even give money or support to anyone. The whole week just seemed like an excuse for preppy boys to wear pastel pink shorts.
The pink ribbon campaign, despite being slightly misguided, has its strong points. It is one of few projects that have rallied millions of people from all around the world for one single cause. It has the ability to give show survivors jus how many people are willing and ready to stand behind them. It also shows women suffering an idea of just how many other women have gone through the same thing.
It is hard to compare the pink ribbon culture with the eco-feminist that Ley speaks about. Eco-feminism is all about studying what the environmental causes of cancer are and them how to prevent it from happening in the first place, whereas the pink ribbon searches for a cure. The eco-feminist movement has set much more realistic goals of prevention. A cure is basically impossible, there are too many different genetics and variables when it comes to cancer for there to be a cure anytime soon.
In all of this we need to remember that women, and even men, suffering from breast cancer or any cancer need our constant love and support and deserve a high quality of life just like anyone else.
Ley, Barbara. “From Pink to Green”. Web. 17 Aug. 2015.
Pink Ribbon Inc. Cine Politics, 2012. Film.
“Breast Cancer Gets the Hard Sell.” Editorial. Lancet 9 Aug. 1997: n. pag. Print.