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Does the Pink of Breast Cancer Awareness Month Make Women With Cancer Feel Worse?
October is the traditional month of the fight against breast cancer. You will see pink ribbons, pink t-shirts, pink clothes of all kinds worn by both men and women.
In fact, this year in 2010, professional football teams in the National Football League included the color pink in their football jerseys. Burly linemen and linebackers slip pink cleats over their football boots; quarterbacks and receivers wear pink armbands and pink towels as part of their equipment.
Why pink? How did the pink ribbon movement begin? And most importantly, does it really help women who already have breast cancer? Or to make them feel worse?
How Pink got into the cancer business
Ribbons have been used to express the wearer’s solidarity with an identified cause from the early to late 20th century. Yellow ribbons are used for soldiers in war. Red ribbons for people with AIDS. Pink ribbons (and the color pink) show support for those diagnosed with breast cancer.
In the fall of 1991, Alexandra Penney, editor-in-chief of Self, a women’s health magazine, and Evelyn Lauder of the cosmetics company Estée Lauder had the idea to create a ribbon. The cosmetics giant distributed the ribbons to stores in New York.
Charlotte Hayley, who was battling the disease, made peach-colored ribbons. She sold the ribbons to support cancer prevention. After discussing the opportunities with Lauder, Hayley and their lawyers, a “new” color was chosen, pink, which became an international symbol of awareness.
Does pink really help women who have breast cancer?
There are loud voices of criticism regarding the “pink moon” and its long-term effects on the fight against breast cancer.
Critics say the promotion of the pink ribbon as a symbol was not attributed to saving lives. Others believe that the pink ribbon will fade from popular use and become merely a fad. October has become the month when “pink” sales explode. Companies that sell pink goods and make a token donation to related charities.
Gayle Sulik, a medical sociologist, wrote Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health. She found that while the “pink ribbon culture” brought the disease a lot of attention in the United States, it did not improve women’s health. Based on eight years of research, analysis and hundreds of interviews with women who have experienced this disease, Mrs. Sulík found that the incidence of cancer is increasing, the cancer industry is flourishing, corporations are profiting from the disease, and people with this cancer are stigmatized with a pink ribbon. .
What is the impression that women with cancer see pink?
How does every woman feel when she has a serious illness and everything around her says, “Be aware of breast cancer.” In October 2009 after Cheryl was diagnosed with DCIS, level 0. That October was a tough month. Pink was everywhere and very aware of cancer. She was diagnosed with it.
Yes, early detection was very important because we had to deal with less severe symptoms. However, the month of awareness alone did not help her much. Whenever Cheryl went shopping, pink was everywhere. She felt terrible, like she couldn’t get enough rest to live a normal life. There were reminders everywhere that he was not normal – he had cancer. She just wanted to hide.
Writing notes of support, using words of affirmation, and spending more time together did a lot more for her mood than pink ribbons and t-shirts. Using the Treasuring mindset and approach helped Cheryl feel loved, appreciated and valued from within.
So my questions to you, dear readers, are: What does October Breast Cancer Awareness Month mean to you? How do you value women with illness? What do you write or say to them? And if you yourself have breast cancer, what would you like the important people in your life to write or say to you?
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