Wednesday, October 14, 2015

i'm aware. are you?

Circulating on Facebook, posted by the late Lisa Bonchek Adams

Yesterday was Metastic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. This is official in the United States but not in Canada. 

I should have written about this yesterday but I was busy getting treatment, which I do every 4 weeks and will continue to do until it stops working. 

Despite a liver that once had "more tumours than you can count" and two brain malignant brain tumours, I have been very, very lucky. As per the graphic above, the median survival of someone with a diagnoses of metastasis is three years. It has been almost 10 years since my original diagnoses and 9 since I learned I have mets.

This October, as we are awash in a sea of pink, I ask you not to go bra-less on my account, get cutesy about where you leave your purse and I don't want to know the colour of your bra, if you are wearing one. And please don't buy pink crap or anything just because it is festooned with a pink ribbon.

Inform yourself for real. Educate others. Donate if you can, to where you money will go the farthest.

In the United States there is Metavivor and the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network. 

In Canada, we have no group devoted exclusively to metastasis but the Canadian Breast Cancer Network has taken on a strong advocacy role and outreach role.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

the myth of early detection

This is a link to an excellent article in Psychology today. It addresses the myth of early detection. I know it is comforting to believe that if you catch cancer early you can prevent it but that's not how it works. It's such a fraught notion that it can be hard to explain. This article does it well. 

The greatest myth serving the early detection belief system is that breast cancer is a single, homogeneous disease that always behaves in the same way, progressing from early to late to lethal (stage 0, 1, 2, 3, 4). From this linear perspective, catching breast cancer "early" suggests that the cancer can be nipped in the bud, stopped in its tracks, prevented from progressing to a lethal stage. A cancer stage, however, is not a point in a definite progression.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

it's october!

I'm fine and I know I owe an update but I could't let this month pass without sharing some the best that's out there when it comes to writing about pink ribbons.

To begin, here's one from Breast Cancer Action (thanks to Kate for drawing my attention to this one).

The post is by Jeanette Koncikowski. Here's an excerpt. 

"When I start talking about my concerns about the pink ribbon, people often ask me what my problem is (not in that seriously inquisitive kinda way, but in the seriously, you are taking issue with THIS?! kinda way). They equate questioning this symbol with a lack of support for women living with and who have died from breast cancer. My problem is that pink is a color and not a cure. The pink ribbon has been corrupted. Corporations, not community, have become the primary promoters of the pink ribbon. Corporations are exploiting our collective generosity and concern for breast cancer patients to make a profit. Many of these companies are not transparent about which breast cancer charities or research, if any, are benefiting from our purchases.  Other companies are pinkwashing, claiming to care about breast cancer (often evidenced by placing a pink ribbon on a product) even though their product actually increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer! There are also countless pink ribbon promotions that degrade women by objectifying their breasts and bodies. Campaigns focusing on saving the boobies, the ta-tas, and second base send the message to women with breast cancer that saving your breasts is more important than saving your life." 
The first sentence of the paragraph of above really resonates with me. Most people who buy pink ribbon stuff just want to show there support. I really don't want to diminish that. It's just that there are better ways of doing that and the author does a pretty good job of explaining why.

There is so much more awareness about Pinktober and pinkwashing than there was when I first started thinking about these things in 2006. Is there any good writing you'd like to share? Please post links in the comments section!