Trivializing rather than educating … #breastcancerrealitycheck

Get your tickets today to meet our panel of famous judges: <redacted>, Olympic Gold Medalist and World Cup Champion, <redacted>, First Lady of <city> and <redacted>, head of <radacted> Center for BRCA Research as they judge our unique display of decorated bras!


<cancer charity> Board Member, <redacted> will discuss new breast reconstruction developments and a special patient will share her journey through breast reconstruction.

This fun evening will also include appetizers, gift bags and some shopping opportunities, all to benefit <cancer charity>.

This just crossed my inbox. Now, amongst the pinkness of October (Breast cancer awareness month in case you missed it), there are special days within the month. One key example is BRA day – or Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day. But I fail to see how a competition to decorate bras does anything other than trivialize the exact thing it is trying to educate about. Worse, it makes women who chose to undergo these procedures feel like they are doing so for pure frivolous vanity. It totally delegitimizes something that is a perfectly valid medical procedure.

Reconstruction was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. What made the decision harder was that I had to overcome my personal self-doubt but also concern over sigma relating to how breast reconstruction is done for vanity reasons. For those who followed my blog, you know that I was convinced I was not going to reconstruct. That was the sigma talking. That was my self-doubt over it being an option that would feed my vanity rather than something that might be critical to my long term mental health. I did a lot of soul searching, and really a lot of self-reflection before I could come to the decision to do breast reconstruction. The surgery was hell (10+ hours under, 5 days in the hospital). I also did a lot of research. I wanted to be truly aware of what I was signing up for.

For those that want to actually gain some awareness about breast reconstruction, how about you start here: 10 Reasons why breast reconstruction isn’t a boob job by Nancy Stordahl, or maybe watch this great video by Dr. Lee at Stanford that talks about What every women should know about breast reconstruction.

Breast reconstruction is an individual choice. It can be really empowering and healing to a breast cancer survivor. It is certainly not an easy choice. It is rarely done from a pure vanity perspective – it is hugely more complicated than that. I don’t know of a single breast cancer survivor who would have chosen to get cancer for the opportunity to get a “boob job”. Ugg.

What gets more even more is that the organization that is sponsoring this, a local charity that provides services to cancer patients. One of their biggest groups of clients are breast cancer survivors. So, why is it that even these organizations are contributing to this type of non-awareness campaign. Could they not think of a better way to fundraise?

  • Becky


  • Angry for u!
    I suspect no one thinks prosthetic legs are vain? And yes functionality is different than breasts…but having as normal a body as possible… That’s not an easy thing to let go of.

  • People struggle with the seriousness of cancer and search for something to say or do to relieve THEY’RE anxiety. It almost seems like everything needs to be subject to commentary or public scrutiny. Or worse, that women’s bodies are always up for discussion so why not their identities?

    • I found myself pondering about how ludicrous it would be to suggest a “decorate a jock strap” competition to benefit testicular cancer awareness …

      • That’s an interesting suggestion Rebecca. The association of testacies and sexuality puts us into another area where we feel squeamish and unable to speak directly. Maybe the tension is in the intimate nature of these “private” regions of our bodies not “belonging” in the realm of public discourse? The autonomy of the self is not the business of what appears to be a kind entertainment.
        Cancer kills people and we should be talking about that.

  • I agree, Becky. BRA day should focus on educating about options, where to find a board certified plastic surgeon, the risks and recovery. Great post!

  • It seems like people sit around a table and they remember seeing a bra decorating contest somewhere and decide they need to do one too! Now if only we saw people decorating boxer shorts or other clothing items for other cancers (not really…). I am glad I had reconstruction, it was 3 surgeries with many complications, but I needed to do it for my sanity.

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