Week 7 Blog Post

In the early 1990s, ribbons became the hallmark of American charity activities. The Breast Cancer Foundation’s “healing long-distance running” distributed pink ribbons to participants, but at that time, pink ribbons had not yet become a recognized symbol of breast cancer. In 1991, Self magazine, which focused on women’s health and fashion, prepared a special issue of the Senior Vice President of Estée Lauder, a survivor of breast cancer, in preparation for the special issue of Breast Cancer Public Awareness Month. In the second year, when preparing for the special issue, Self magazine decided to promote the pink ribbon as a public awareness symbol for breast cancer and asked Estée Lauder to distribute the ribbon at the cosmetics counter in New York. Estée Lauder replied that not only New York, they will put the ribbon on the beauty counter in the United States. Therefore, Estée Lauder finally put the ribbon on the cosmetics counters around, which is now widely known as pink. ‘ “Pink is the quintessential female color,” says Margaret Welch, director of the Color Association of the United States. “The profile on pink is playful, life-affirming. We have studied as to its calming effect, its quieting effect, it’s lessening of stress. [Pastel pink] is a shade known to be health-giving; that’s why we have expressions like ‘in the pink.’ You can’t say a bad thing about it.” Pink is, in other words, everything cancer notably is not.’(Sandy M. Fernandez, 1998)

Over the years, NCI’s work in cancer prevention has focused on reducing environmental carcinogenic factors, increasing cancer screening rates, and developing cancer vaccines. Compared to Charlotte Haley’s time, NCI’s budget for cancer prevention has increased by nearly 50% in recent years. Breast cancer was once a disease that can only exist in people’s whispers, raising its awareness in the public, which is really crucial in a certain period of time, as was emphasizing the benefits of screening. But the growing awareness of breast cancer has also brought unforeseen consequences, and it has also affected women’s health.‘Recently, a survey of three decades of screening published in November in The New England Journal of Medicine found that mammography’s impact is decidedly mixed: it does reduce, by a small percentage, the number of women who are told they have late-stage cancer, but it is far more likely to result in overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment, including surgery, weeks of radiation and potentially toxic drugs.’(Peggy, 2013) Compared to Ley article ‘Indeed, several speakers at the press conference stressed the need to better understand the possible impact of these chemicals on both breast cancer and women’s health more generally.’(Ley, 2009) Breast cancer is indeed a disease that affects everyone. However, if it is found early, it will be treated when it is not transferred, and the effect is better. The relative five-year survival rate can be as high as 99%. ‘Breast cancer in your breast doesn’t kill you; the disease becomes deadly when it metastasizes, spreading to other organs or the bones.’(Peggy, 2013)

Ley article also mentioned, ‘It fuel activists’ arguments that the dominant breast cancer paradigm places blame for breast cancer on women’s lifestyle choices rather than the social, political, and economic systems that often hinder women’s opportunities to make healthy choices and avoid exposure to toxic substances.’(Ley, 2009) However, I think women’s lifestyle affects the production of diseases. The lifestyle of modern women, more people choose high-calorie, high-protein, high-fat diet (increased hormone levels, the incidence of breast cancer); in addition, work stress, lack of exercise and other exogenous factors It also leads to an imbalance in the secretion of female hormone levels and a decline in immune function. Therefore, controlling fat intake, reducing obesity, improving the body’s immune mechanism and disease resistance, can effectively prevent and reduce the occurrence of breast cancer.


Ley, Barbara L. The Cultural Politics of Sisterhood. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1997, anthropology.msu.edu/anp270-us18/files/2016/06/7.1-Ley.pdf.

Peggy Orenstein, Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer, The New York Times, April 25, 2013, https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/magazine/our-feel-good-war-on-breast-cancer.html

Sandy M. Fernandez, History of the Pink Ribbon, 1998 (https://thinkbeforeyoupink.org/resources/history-of-the-pink-ribbon/)

Leave a Reply