October 13 is National Metatstatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Last week I blogged about how people dislike the way companies are jumping on the breast cancer bandwagon and exploiting the pink ribbon to increase sales. Personally, I think cause marketing, done right, is a great way to raise money for breast cancer research, as well as money to fund treatment for women who can't afford it.

But there's another reason people for "pink fatigue". Pink is such a light, fluffy color, and with all the success stories, people might start to look at breast cancer through rose-colored glasses. It's true that public support for breast cancer awareness and research funding has helped improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Breast cancer survival rates have increased and the number of deaths has been declining, thanks to a number of factors such as earlier detection, new treatments and a better understanding of the disease.

But there's still such a long way to go. I'm guessing that pink is the last color breast cancer patients would use to describe what they're going through -- physically, financially and emotionally -- especially for patients with metastatic, or stage IV, breast cancer.

So I get why some people don't like pink. But it's the same reason why we need pink more than ever! Today, October 13, is National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, a day to draw attention to the unique needs and experiences of patients with advanced, stage IV breast cancer. I'm using this day to remind everyone of some reasons why we still need all this pink:

* Right now, about 150,000 people in this country are living with metastatic breast cancer

* About 25 percent of the women who are diagnosed with and treated for early-stage breast cancer will later learn that they have metastatic disease.

* An additional 4 to 6 percent of all breast cancer cases will be in women whose initial diagnosis is stage IV, metastatic disease.

* Research and scientific advancements have increased the length and quality of those living with metastatic breast cancer. In other words, it can be treated -- but it cannot be cured. Women can live for many years with stage IV -- others, like Elizabeth Edwards, are not so lucky. As though living with stage IV breast cancer is "lucky".

None of that sounds pink and pretty. But if turning the world pink reminds people to do their breast self-exams, get mammograms, donate, join a fundraiser event, volunteer for a fundraiser event, volunteer for a research study, send a care package to a friend, write a letter to their senator, anything and everything to help women with breast cancer...... then bring on the pink.

For information, resources and support, visit BCMets.org, AdvancedBC.org and BrainMetsBC.org.

No comments: