Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Purge The Scourge

Just hanging out in the kitchen today, tapering and cooking, I found this ancient gem in the back of the pantry while looking for an ingredient I rarely use. I think this box is about 4 years old.

Bake for the Cure? That reminded me, October is coming again. "Rah-rah! Go Team Pink!"

The pink scourge.

Every fall the Pepto-nauseation-fest begins. Just like months before Christmas, the big money makers might as well start pinking everything up in June. Let's just keep selling pink and squeeze it for as long as we can.

With the Komenesque revelations of recent times, people are beginning to become more aware that their so-called pink dollars are not going entirely to good causes.

Last fall, shortly before I quit working at the hospital, someone hung an object on the wall behind the nurses station. It was a pink decorated bra. The cups looked like Hostess Snowballs, remember those gag-me-with-a-spoon pink coconut thingies they sold in packages of two? It was framed behind glass.

I remember when I first saw it, I mentioned that I thought it was almost offensive. At that point, I don't think I had a single positive thing to say about my workplace, I was headed out the door within weeks. Everyone else seemed to disagree, the other nurses were oohing and aaaahing over it, thinking it was cute. I didn't think it belonged in an infusion center where people were getting chemo.

Taking someone's agony and turning it into a cute, fluffy, foofy ornament. Some people aren't bothered by this, but there are quite a few who are. And cute little pink feathery, coconutty bras make a disease that changes lives (most often not for the better) and often kills people into something adorable and palatable to the public.

First of all there is no single, simple cure. Cancer is too diverse of a disease category to have a single "cure" in the works. Sometimes it can go away and never come back. Yes, in some people, after treatment it never comes back. But that doesn't mean you've cured cancer. The only way to cure cancer as we know it right now is to make people out of something other than cells with DNA in them. Hey, we're working on it...

I personally don't like the color pink anyway, but the fact that it's been irreversibly connected to breast cancer in the mind of the public is the issue I have. Why?

Other forms of cancer get ignored. The fact that men also get breast cancer gets ignored. The fact that women get other kinds of cancer and in other places in their bodies besides in their breasts get ignored, and breast cancer gets lumped into one big category as if there is just one disease going on that one simple pink-funded cure would take care of. And boobs are soft, likeable things that are non-threatening and easy to sell. Feminine and docile.

And it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, do we have to commercialize everything...someone is always opportunistically making a buck. Speaking of cancer and we have discussion of recommendations that all women get screened for certain genetic mutations known to be associated with high risk for certain types of cancer.

The emotional repercussions of testing positive for these mutations are critical to understand and consider so that people can be fully supported if they do test positive, because serious health and quality of life-altering decisions must be made. It's not something that a profit-minded approach will approach carefully.

I am concerned that there is way too much profitmongering in the name of cancer and not nearly enough attention to the very real and personal and immediate needs of people who have it. And it's football season again, will the wonderful NFL with their domestic violence problem don their pink helmets and uniforms again? Watch out for those nonprofits...and you can, here.

This fall, Purge the Pink Scourge. If you're going to donate to cancer, do your homework. Here's a good organization to support, specific to breast cancer: Breast Cancer Action.

But don't forget, cancer likes more than just boobies, and it happens all year, not just October.


Winna said...

Great blog. I wish I could plaster the walls with these words! Well said.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thank you Winna!

kristen said...

Great post, I've always thought the NFL going pink was just really wrong.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Yes, I think the NFL needs a come to Jesus moment.