30 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness – 2011

Photo from http://www.al11pisces.com/category/awareness/

There’s a lot of talk about breast cancer awareness – the need for awareness, the desire to raise awareness, the use of pink ribbons or bracelets or t-shirts to symbolize awareness.

The awareness mantra works for generating interest in the cause of breast cancer, creating fanfare, selling products, and maintaining the message that breast cancer is important. Is that really awareness?

Awareness refers to “consciousness,” “conscious knowledge,” or “mindfulness.”

By this definition, how AWARE are we about breast cancer?

For Instance:

  • Are we moved by inspirational stories but wary of getting to the nitty gritty realities of the disease?
  • Do we look for evidence-based information, and know how to make sense of it?
  • What is the “eradication” of breast cancer, and what might be done to achieve it?
  • Do we assess the accuracy, balance, and context of health news?
  • Do we consider the extent to which a company, organization, or individual has the expertise to tell us anything at all about health or illness?
  • Are we able to discern myths from facts? Well-grounded hope from misleading hype?
  • Do we read the fine print of pink-ribboned products and consider the practices of sponsoring/partnering corporations?
  • Do we know how to evaluate charitable organizations, and who to trust when making decisions about our own charitable giving?
  • Do we think about how conflicts of interest may be shaping the marketing or programming decisions of nonprofit organizations and others who administer breast cancer related programs?
  • Do we have any idea how much money is raised in the name of breast cancer or how it is spent?
  • Do we imagine how diverse communities of people with breast cancer and other diseases feel about how they are represented (or not) in the multitude of breast cancer campaigns?
  • Do we think about the big picture when it comes to breast cancer? (i.e., What’s at stake, and for whom? What would it take to stop cancer before it starts? What kinds of “actions” would really make a difference in stopping the epidemic?)

Conscious knowledge comes from paying attention and being alert. The closer one looks at something, the greater the potential for deepening knowledge and becoming more aware.

Instead of fueling the pink ribbon industry, let’s spend the next thirty days Raising Consciousness about breast cancer!

You’ll find the “30 Days” Table of Contents listed here as the month progresses. 

  1. The Inspirational. Vs. The Actual by Gayle Sulik
  2. Left Behind by Jody Schoger
  3. Factoids and Impressions in Breast Cancer Advertising by Gayle Sulik
  4. Factoids, Impressions, and Impressions (or, Take “Action” Against Breast Cancer: Buy Stuff & Support Our Sponsors!) by Rachel Cheetham Moro.
  5. Watch Out for Junk News by Gayle Sulik
  6. Critical Health Literacy and Evidence-Based Practice by Gayle Sulik
  7. The Dream of Eradication by Gayle Sulik (originally published 2/10/11)
  8. Taking Action Against Pinkwashing: An Interview With Breast Cancer Action’s Karuna Jaggar by Gayle Sulik
  9. Pink Ribbons, Inc. by Gayle Sulik
  10. {Re-Think Your Pitch} Q&A With A National Brand Over Breast Cancer by Kate-Madonna Hindes
  11. “After the Cure” by Gayle Sulik
  12. Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day is October 13th by Gayle Sulik
  13. Medical Progress and Stage 4 Breast Cancer: Re-Learning the Lessons of Elizabeth Edwards’ Death by Gayle Sulik (originally published 3/14/11)
  14. The Cancer Show: A Cast of Thousands by Gayle Sulik and The Cancer Show
  15. The Cloud that Doesn’t Go Away by Kirsten Kaae RN, BSN, LPC, M.Ed.
  16. Loss and Remembering: A Story of Heather Beyer by Bill Noren
  17. Excerpt from Being Sarah by Sarah Horton
  18. Advertising WHAT??? by Nizarys Vargas and Sarah Roman
  19. Birth of the Perpetual Fundraising Industry by Gayle Sulik
  20. Industry Ties to Nonprofits by Gayle Sulik
  21. Navigating the Charity World with Form 990: Uses and Limitations by Gayle Sulik
  22. Pinking the Global Landscape, and the Global Market by Gayle Sulik
  23. Tracking the Big “K” by Gayle Sulik
  24. “Survival” and “Cure” are NOT Interchangeable Words by AnneMarie Ciccarella
  25. Being a Change Agent with Clinical Trials by Lori Marx-Rubiner
  26. Daring to be Powerful by Kathi Kolb
  27. March, Run, or Streak to a Different Drummer! by Gayle Sulik
  28. The Intervention Begins With Us! by Gayle Sulik
  29. A Portrait of Cathie Malhouitre: Uncompromising, Unembellished Reality by Gayle Sulik
  30. “Pink Ribbon Blues” – A Poem by Gayle Sulik
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6 comments to 30 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness – 2011

  • There is a ‘dearth’ of information ABOUT ‘those of us with “Advanced Breast Cancer” — STAGE IV (+).

    With everyone ‘jumping on the EARLY DETECTION bandwagon’ and talking about
    the ‘WONDERFUL CURE RATES’ — where is the ‘money’ going for researching
    “Metastatic Breast Cancer”.

    Or does the ‘Community At-Large’ already consider ‘us’ “Hopeless / Helpless”.

  • Jan

    Long past time to move beyond the buzz words to deeper consciousness about this whole pink culture.
    What a wonderful thing it would be if the primary focus was really on the CURE –
    which means RESEARCH. We are still losing too many women to this disease.

  • “Do we have any idea how much money is raised in the name of breast cancer or how it is spent?”

    Says it all, right there!

  • What a BRILLIANT idea! Every question you pose is thought provoking and insightful.

    And to Jacqueline, I made it my business this month to switch any talk of ribbons and races to the unchanged NUMBERS (not statistics, those can be skewed….numbers don’t lie) on those living with mets. You are not forgotten. THAT IS “MY PROMISE” to all.

  • […] of pink ribbon culture is Gayle Sulik, who wrote the book Pink Ribbon Blues. She will be blogging 30 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness and her first installment, the Inspirational vs. the Actual, looks […]

  • […] tremendous efforts you might enjoy reviewing: Being Sarah, author of a book by the same name, and Gayle Sulik, author of Pink Ribbon Blues. And there are many more worthy posts among the women who are […]

"women urged to get screened because it might save their lives. But that’s only 1 possible outcome, and it’s the least likely one" @cragcrest cutt.ly/jei8WJr

“Pink Ribbon Blues”

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"Seeing clearly through the pink haze" Toronto Sun

*Sad face*: Being happy does not help you live longer" New Scientist

How should we address breast cancer when norms continually change? The Guardian

Your Fun 'No Bra Day' Photos Are Overshadowing Terminal Breast Cancer Patients Broadly

Backlash against “pinkwashing” of breast cancer awareness campaigns BMJ

Breast Cancer to Rise 50 Percent by 2030? Hey, Not So Fast! Health News Review

Breast Cancer: The Flaws in the Cause iafrica.com

How to Make the Biggest Impact With Your Breast Cancer Donations Money

The Very Pink, Very Controversial Business of Breast Cancer Awareness Racked

NFL, Pink Ribbons Not Enough to Win over Women CNN

3 Questions We Need to Answer for Breast Cancer Awareness Month Chronicle of Philanthropy

The problem with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Women's Health Magazine

Pink Ribbon Envy: Living with an Uncool Cancer The Nib

A Year After Bombings, Some Say 'Boston Strong' Has Gone Overboard NPR, All Things Considered

Canadian Mammogram Study KCRW, NPR Affiliate

Time to Debunk the Mammography Myth CNN

Breast Cancer: Awareness, Activism & Pinkwashing NPR Charlotte

Buying Pink Al Jazeera's The Stream Watch »

The Pink Backlash Orlando Sentinel

Why Jolie's Test Costs So Much CNN

Preventative Mastectomies: Disease and Deception BlogTalkRadio

Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene' KCRW

Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer The New York Times Magazine.

The Story Behind the Pink Ribbon Campaign Sisters Talk Radio

WISH Interview Women's International Summit for Health

Making Cancer About The Patient, Not The Body Part CBS Pittsburgh

Sexy breast cancer campaigns anger many patients USA Today

The perils of pink The Daily

Komen pink campaign creates breast-cancer blues for some Dallas Morning News

A yellow flag for the NFL's pink New York Daily

Gayle Sulik named #7 in SharecareNow’s Top 10 Online Influencers in Breast Cancer

Breast cancer cancer causes so easily derailed Philly Inquirer

Komen Charity Under Microscope for Funding, Science Reuters

The Fight Against Cancer - And Abortion? Salon.com

Susan G. Komen For the Cure defunds Planned Parenthood. In Deep with Angie Coiro

Amid Breast Cancer Month, Is there Pink Fatigue? NPR's All Things Considered

How is Breast Cancer Culture Undermining Women's Health? America’s Radio News Network

Pink Ribbon Culture and Breast Cancer The Kojo Nnamdi Show

The Big Business of Breast Cancer
Marie Claire

Does Breast Cancer Awareness Month Crowd Out Other Diseases? Slate

Pink Inc. Has Many Starting to See Red The Sacramento Bee

Get Your Pink Off Ottawa Citizen

Komen Pink Ribbons Raise Green and Questions USA Today