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.
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.
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.
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.