Until I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was not aware of it! October came and went with lots of pink ribbons, pink running shoes, TV commercials about various breast cancer charities, dumb games on Facebook, and requests for donations to some unknown charity with breast cancer in the title at the grocery store. None of these made me any more ‘aware’ of breast cancer. Frankly, I was pretty happy being un-aware of breast cancer. So, I’m not sure I really want people to be aware of it.
Now, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I suddenly had to become aware. I had learn what the diagnosis meant, what the different pathologies were for breast cancer, what the common treatments were, and how all this might apply to my particular form of breast cancer. I had to learn a whole new language.
Now, if you are a regular reader of my blog or the blogs of many other amazing women who are living with breast cancer (e.g. Booby and the Beast, Nancy’s Point, Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer), then you are probably pretty aware of what it means to have breast cancer. I think blogs are probably one of the best educational tools to provide ‘awareness’ of what breast cancer is all about. If you want a true dose of awareness, take a read of Jen’s post “Around the Web – Mets Edition” – many of the stats around metastatic disease and young women with breast cancer are quite sobering.
Breast cancer awareness campaigns do bring in a lot of money for research, but they also cause a lot of well intentioned people to waste their money by donating to questionable causes that don’t further research or help support those with breast cancer. And sometimes they are just PR stunts and do nothing to support breast cancer research or those living with breast cancer. If your going to donate money to support breast cancer research or breast cancer treatment, I recommend that rather than adding a dollar to your grocery bill or buying a pink product, you make a targeted donation to a charity that makes a difference in a way that matters to you. If you care about research into metastatic disease, then donate to metavivor.org, if you care about prevention, donate to the breastcancerfund.org, if you want to support women who have cancer in the local community look to local organizations like Bay Area Cancer Connections – or if you want to support me while supporting breast cancer, you can donate to my Avon Walk.