My A-Z of Breast Cancer Awareness

Posted: September 29, 2015 in The Big C
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It’s that time of year again. A month which used to pass me by, but which I now dread is upon us – October or Pinktober is BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH.

For those of you who aren’t yet ‘aware’, the pink-ribbon is the international symbol of breast cancer awareness and Pinktober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

During Pinktober people interpret and express their awareness in many different ways. You can light up a global landmark in pink fairy lights, as that icon of bustiness Liz Hurley does every year (for Estee Lauder); you can get your knockers out to promote ‘awareness’ as many celebrities like to do; you can wipe your backside on pink-ribbon toilet paper; you can drag out the obligitary pink feather boa for ‘Wear it  Pink’; or you can simply express your awareness by taking part in whatever this year’s ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ Facebook game happens to be.

This is not awareness

This is not awareness

Pinktober generates mixed feelings among the Breast Cancer community. Whilst it has been a spectacular success in celebrating survival and raising money, there is still very little discussion around cause and prevention, and for those living with secondary or metastatic disease (the one that kills you), it’s definitely not a cause for celebration.


Neither is this

For many, the saccharine sweet, surgically enhanced message conveyed by the media is completely at odds with the harsh reality of the disease. And thanks to the pink feather-boa effect, Breast Cancer is now perceived as CANCER-LITE. It’s no longer viewed as a life threatening disease, despite the fact that IT KILLS 12,000 WOMEN IN THE UK EVERY YEAR.

Neither is this

A strategically placed pink ribbon does not = awareness

The media is saturated with stories of hope and survivorship: no one wants to be reminded of the fact there that THERE IS STILL NO CURE FOR BREAST CANCER or of the people who’s lives are devastated and cut short by the disease.

This is my third October as a breast cancer patient and I’ve had enough. Instead of sitting here in a rose-tinted-rage, I want to set the record straight and share some of the wisdom I’ve acquired since my diagnosis. I’ll be bugging the hell out of you for the whole month of stuff about awareness. It won’t be pretty and it definitely won’t be pink, but if I can persuade you to read at least some of my posts, maybe you will learn something more about this disease.

  1. Wonderfully potent writing – well said xx

  2. Beverley Lavallin says:

    As I sit reading this blog I really feel outrage that all this has not been said before and instead the pink army have invaded our space. I hate secondary breast cancer – its destroying me and destroying my family. There is nothing pink and positive and fluffy and feather boaish about it.

  3. juddleys says:

    Dear Kath, I totally agree. Why try and glamourise something that is so brutal. My own daughter has not been able to have reconstruction at this moment in time. There is no guarantee that she can even when she has the preventative second mastectomy. Show your strap? Really? Raise money, yes. Raise awareness, most definitely. Glamourise an awful disease that physically and mentally changes you, please don’t.

  4. […] Source: My A-Z of Breast Cancer Awareness […]

  5. josnewlife says:

    I will read every post! Here in the US the same thing! It’s my second October after breast cancer hell – love your writing, I’ll do the same over here! Keep up the good work & words! Love from Jo

  6. Kate Gould says:

    This is such a fantastic piece. I’ll definitely be reading (and sharing) every post in the A-Z.

  7. Thank you for this important post and awareness! I am not a “pink” supporter. I am angered by companies that take advantage of the public to promote products that do not promote health and may even increase cancer risk. While people are more aware of breast cancer, there is still little the public actually knows or understands about the disease other than “pink”. I look forward to your posts.

  8. Jim Ashton says:

    Well done Kath, right to the point and so true!

  9. […] Katherine sums up the antipathy to Pinktober felt by many of us: […]

  10. The model in the pink bra should be a mastectomy patient. That would pack a punch!

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