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Feelings about breast cancer awareness month

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  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,157
    edited September 2019
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    This is a great discussion and I appreciate all the different points of view. They are all valid.

    On the topic of female sexuality and breasts, I'd like to share a link one of our members, Momine, posted on the subject. It is a photo project she did, but the accompanying article especially resonated with me. Momine's thoughts truly hit the nail on the head. It isn’t a long article yet the words say so much!

    From the article:

    Recently, certain silicone breast implants were recalled due to the fact they are known to cause lymphoma. This prismatic photo story explores the fluidity that resides in femininity. The power that results from choosing health, and being confident in that decision, versus feeling the need to transform oneself because of underlying mainstream beauty pressures is effortlessly portrayed.

    Please view and read more here:

    https://www.flaunt.com/content/androgyne





  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,157
    edited September 2019
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    Here’s a link to Momine’s original post on the topic:

    Topic: Photo Essay about Flatness ... and other stuff

    https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/82/topics/873103?page=1#idx_26

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
    edited September 2019
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    Beesie, I agree that the platform for real information to the broader public is small compared to the marketing campaigns for profit. But each of us HAS a platform. I have one, and you do. I can share with the people I know and even some people I don't know. I don't want to be another friend who had "it" and that's all my friends and family know about it. So it isn't the same as broadcasts and pink commercials and party events thrown by Komen and Company. But it's something I have and I use it.

    In another comment I wrote here a few weeks ago, I said this:

    "We all have a special ability to create breast cancer awareness year round. We all have knowledge and stories we can share that are unique and powerful. We can take advantage of opportunities as they arise, in small groups or one on one, or even in large group meetings occasionally. We have social media to share our stories, and to dispel myths, and to remind friends and relatives to check their breasts and get their exams.

    And when it comes to October, we can also remind them that it's more efficient to make a donation directly to an organization like BCO, or ACS, or Hope Lodge, or the non-profit cancer clinic, than it is to buy a "pink" product that will have "a portion of profits" donated to an organization.

    And we can remind our friends and relatives to vote for candidates who support research (SCIENCE!!) and health care access.

    We have a lot of power if we choose to use it."

    You've been dealing with this for a long time, so your long-term experience beats my newcomer's naivete. I do know I can't do much, but I can do something. Doing something to educate those I know is better than doing nothing.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited September 2019
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    I've lost two aunts (one was step, but I loved her dearly), a sister-in-law, and several friends to breast cancer. I think the whole "awareness" issue needs to be revamped from the ground up, so it's not boiled down to "Love your boobies! Have a mammogram! Bald is beautiful (but only if it's temporary)! Everything will be fine!" I'm one of the lucky ones (so far) in that mine was an early stage, uncomplicated variety. But that aspect, of making it all so ... I don't know ... frivolous? glamorous? just really steams me. I keep remembering my one aunt, who had been a loud, jolly, adventurous woman, sitting in a chair with a headscarf to hide her bald patches, not talking to anyone, bad-tempered due to what her body had done to her, and from the pain, but mostly from the heavy dosage of morphine that (barely) allowed her to function at all, and I see nothing pink and beribboned. I think of my sweet, funny sister-in-law who had her first chemo treatment shortly before our pre-Christmas gathering, so she was tired and groggy, and then going to her funeral just three months later, and I see nothing pink and beribboned. Quit treating it like it's some damn sorority initiation! I know there's been some blowback on depicting breast cancer patients as feeble, chemo-induced walking scarecrows, but now the flip side is that it's NOT taken seriously, or that it's some wonderful sisterhood of warrior women.

    (While I'm bitching) I'm also not thrilled with the "Stand Up to Cancer" name. Glad it includes all cancers and emphasizes research, but the name makes it sound like it's the patient's fault if they're not fierce! enough to battle! and be a warrior! It's about endurance, not fighting.

    Traveltext, I understand how invisible you must feel. I've tried so many times to find good, scientific-but-readable material on women with kidney cancer, and haven't found crap. I know we're out there, because we're well-represented on the few forums I've found, but medically, it seems to be seen as a men's disease. And for my particular sub-type, I found ONE freaking article after months of searching, and even that was not broken down by gender.



  • edj3
    edj3 Member Posts: 1,579
    edited September 2019
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    DivineMrsM thank you for sharing the photo essay. Very moving, very thought-provoking. Maybe it's this season of my life but so much of what she wrote hit my soul.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,157
    edited September 2019
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    edj, I feel the same way. It’s finally making sense to me that, as Momine says, “women are the recipient of male desire but are not supposed to have our own desire. Culturally we like breasts to be large and prominent but devoid of active female sexuality.”



  • dogmomrunner
    dogmomrunner Member Posts: 492
    edited September 2019
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    Back in the very early days of the Race for the Cure, I walked or ran the 5ks. Then it became such a circus and I tossed all the shirts and decided to boycott. Now that I actually have had breast cancer, I'm thinking that maybe I should wear a shirt/carry a sign that uses direct quotes from someone like Beesie.

    Like Mountain Mia says, we all have a platform. We just need to use it.

  • peregrinelady
    peregrinelady Member Posts: 416
    edited September 2019
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    I am not sure about the “Sip and Screen Mammo party” scheduled in October at my small local hospital. While I am glad they are encouraging women to get their mammograms, the picture shows two champagne glasses clicking together. I am pretty sure alcohol is a risk factor and the whole party atmosphere is irritating. What happens when one of the women has a suspicious mammo? That is gonna bring the “party” to an end.
  • peregrinelady
    peregrinelady Member Posts: 416
    edited September 2019
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    On another note, a fellow teacher came up to me the other day and said that while she and her family were at the lake they looked down and found a rock. She handed it to me and I was shocked to see that a vein in the rock was in the shape of a perfect breast cancer ribbon with a pink tinge! I am not one to collect pink ribbon items at all (or talk about my diagnosis) but I was so touched that they saw this rock and immediately thought to give it to me. That is the kind of awareness that I appreciate.
  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
    edited September 2019
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    I get it, Peregrinelady. I also appreciate knowing my cousin went for a long-overdue mammogram because of greater awareness. She said to me, "You and your openness about everything is what pushed me to make my appointment." That makes it worth talking about.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited September 2019
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    I just did a quickie Google search and found these ribbon charts. Some don't use the same color for the same thing. Some have identical ribbons to support a cause and to stamp out another one. Do we need to carry charts and peer offensively closely at someone to determine if their ribbon is peach, orange, or tangerine?

    It's ridiculous.


    image

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  • traveltext
    traveltext Member Posts: 1,053
    edited September 2019
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    Just a reminder that the Pinktober Revolution thread has 104 pages of pink month rants:

    https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/102/topics/791442?page=104#post_5295411


  • edj3
    edj3 Member Posts: 1,579
    edited September 2019
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    Traveltext I'll have to read them all :)

    As far as ribbons go, I decided that if I do get a third cancer, I'll start a collection across the back of my car.

  • dogmomrunner
    dogmomrunner Member Posts: 492
    edited September 2019
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    AliceBastable- I agree that it's out of hand. Cancer is not about colored ribbons. Or boobie neck warmers. I have to say that the one awareness campaign that seems to be mostly substance over gimmick is Autism awareness. At least from what I have seen. IganizTions

  • ksusan
    ksusan Member Posts: 461
    edited September 2019
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    Back when AIDS was the only ribbon, it did raise awareness, in part because people would ask, "Why do you have a piece of ribbon pinned to your jacket?"

    I'm thinking about getting a METAvivor T shirt this October (https://www.store.metavivor.org/product-page/research-t-shirt). On the front it says RESEARCH and on the back it says #DONTIGNORESTAGEIV.

  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063
    edited September 2019
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    Thanks for that reminder, ksusan. I may order one, too. And thanks for the support! I looked at the Metavivor and mbc alliance web sites for “Stage IV Needs More" etc. but did not find any shirts. Anyone know how I can get one? Or buttons? (In the past I tried a large general t-shirt and button online store and was unhappy with their lack of quality.)

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,219
    edited September 2019
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    Maybe we at BCO should consider a T-shirt? Would that be of interest? We could consider different sayings?


  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063
    edited September 2019
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    Interesting idea.

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
    edited September 2019
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    Moderators, that's an idea worth considering. You could solicit for sayings ideas. Mine would be: ASK ME ABOUT MY HAIRCUT

    I'd love it if people just ask, instead of giving me the side-eye. I'd especially love it if they'd ask when their kids are weirded out by my baldness. I'd rather just tell a kid, "I needed a special medicine that made me better, but it also made my hair come out. It will grow back pretty soon," than wonder what the parent will tell them.

  • dogmomrunner
    dogmomrunner Member Posts: 492
    edited September 2019
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    A T-shirt might be good. I want one that says "my breasts aren't stupid, they're just dense"

  • super52
    super52 Member Posts: 61
    edited September 2019
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    Alice, I think you summed it up precisely! Sadly, all of the awareness has brought a sense of frivolity and glamour to something that is not even remotely frivolous or glamorous. But then there is the other side to the pink ribbon awareness such as what PeregrineLady mentioned that can be thoughtful and touching. I teach in a high school, and the custodians in my building tied a pink ribbon around the door handle to their break room as a sign of support for me on the day I had my first surgery and it is still there 8 months later. They quietly did that, and I only learned of it when another teacher mentioned it to me. I was so touched by the sincerity (and subtlety) of that gesture. My co-workers all wore pink to school on the day of my surgery and gathered for a picture which they sent to my cell phone with a message of support for me. I know that took some behind the scenes coordinating as well as necessitating teachers to arrive at work even earlier than our already extremely early starting time. When that picture came across my phone while I was waiting to receive the tracer dye for the sentinel node biopsy, I almost cried. When my sister was diagnosed twelve years ago, shortly before Pinktober, my mother replaced her porch lights with pink bulbs for the entire month and has done so every year since. I love when the pink is used to symbolize support and solidarity, and since I associate pink with beauty ("pretty in pink"), pink reminds me we are all still beautiful, perhaps even more so, battle scars and all, because of who we are on the inside. BUT...... when pink is used for mass marketing and profit under the guise of awareness, or when I see people wearing t-shirts with crude slogans, or see tchotchkes designed with crude humor for sale everywhere, I do get very offended.

    I think the idea of a BCO t-shirt is interesting, and while I certainly wouldn't object to the color pink, perhaps some blue could get added too to bring awareness to the fact that this is not a female-only disease.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited September 2019
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    I think a lot of people mean well with the pinking. If it's close family and friends, I guess I'd cut them some slack. But too often, it's people doing absolutely not a damn thing except wearing pink so other people will notice how caring they are. All about the pink wearer.

  • super52
    super52 Member Posts: 61
    edited September 2019
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    Alice,

    Exactly!!!

  • peregrinelady
    peregrinelady Member Posts: 416
    edited September 2019
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    This Saturday is the annual “Boobs and Beer” fundraiser run. Ugh!
  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited September 2019
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    At least they didn't call it "Jugs and Mugs."

  • Brilee76
    Brilee76 Member Posts: 190
    edited September 2019
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    Jugs and Mugs... lol

    I'm in favor of anything that brings attention to a worthy cause. It's amazing how oblivious I was to breast cancer before my mom experienced it. People from all walks of life would tell me about people in their families and communities that had been diagnosed and treated. Now I'm walking in their shoes. Had my mom not had it I would've kept putting off that mammogram. I figured at my age the odds weren't that high for me to have it. Education is key.

  • dogmomrunner
    dogmomrunner Member Posts: 492
    edited September 2019
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    SUPer- I think it's wonderful what your coworkers did. And your mom.If pink is used to educate and for good, then I'm ok with it. But I hate the commercialization (I'm not sure that's a word) of the cause. I have two coworkers who are actively getting treatment along with me, so we have really been impacted by BC this year.
  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,178
    edited September 2019
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    image

    And then there’s this. It would grab your attention I guess. And it’s supposed to be in support of all types of cance. But WHY pink.

  • m0mmyof3
    m0mmyof3 Member Posts: 9,528
    edited October 2019
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    Avoiding the pink ribbon crud. Wrote a post on my Facebook page about getting a yearly mammogram. I said that not only women can get BC but men can too.

  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063
    edited October 2019
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    Some thoughts this October 1:

    The pink celebrations and marketing are inappropriate. We are talking about a disease. Pink parties and merchandise usually raise very little money that actually goes to research or to help cancer patients deal with the disruption of their lives and the financial devastation. Often most of the money just goes back into the awareness machine or to company profits.

    The pink celebration perpetuates the trivialization and often sexualization of breast cancer. It marginalizes the people who will die from this disease (through no fault of their own), because they do not fit the narrative of the victorious survivor, the image that brings in the dollars.

    What does "awareness" mean when people are not aware that 25-30% of early stagers (I-III) will have a metastatic recurrence, the incurable, lethal form of the disease? What does awareness mean when people are not aware that only around 7% of money raised goes toward research for a cure or normal lifespan? What does awareness mean when men are not aware they can get breast cancer and so will be diagnosed later and have poorer survival? What does awareness mean when women are not aware that mammograms are not a cure, and do not always "catch it early"? What does awareness mean when people think reconstruction is a great free boob job and do not understand the pain and complications reconstruction can entail, and when some surgeons still refuse to give a woman a smooth flat chest if she asks for that? What does awareness mean when our friends, coworkers and even family do not realize we are forever changed and often forever suffering side-effects of treatment even though we "look good"?