- Read important books about the history, politics, economics, and social aspects of breast cancer and the health care system. Make sure these books are in your local libraries!
- Know/print/share the myths and truths about breast cancer from the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC).
- Search for evidence-based analyses of breast cancer issues also from NBCC.
- Consult this glossary when reading health news.
- Consider perspectives about breast cancer that do not make the headlines.
- Evaluate health news stories with a critical eye. Health News Review provides excellent criteria on what consumers need to know in stories on treatments, tests, products, and procedures and why.
- Identify critical health news that focuses on the complexities of cancer.
Think Before You Pink
Ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions, fundraisers, and awareness activities. Think Before You Pink is a project of Breast Cancer Action (BCAction), launched in 2002, in response to the growing concern about the number of pink ribbon products on the market. The campaign calls for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to pay attention and ask crucial questions.
- Print/share BCAction’s Critical Questions flyer.
- Post/share BCAction’s Think Before You Pink video.
- Post/share the video trailer to the Canadian documentary, Pink Ribbons, Inc.
- Download BCAction’s Think Before You Pink Toolkit.
Move Beyond Awareness
- Read the Beyond Awareness Workbook on “Pink Ribbon Blues”.
- View consciousness raising videos.
- Read NBCC’s breast cancer progress reports.
- Visit the Breast Cancer Consortium website.
Join the Conversation
There is a growing movement oriented to telling the truth about breast cancer and changing the conversation about how we as a society work toward the eradication of this disease. Breast cancer is not pink, and it’s not pretty. This is not a condemnation of anyone who finds meaning in the ribbon or public events. It is a call to broaden the discussion, re-orient the cause toward prevention and life-saving research, and acknowledge the unintended consequences of commercialization, festive awareness activities, and the lack of evidence-based information that makes its way to the public. Add your voice!
- Talk to family and friends honestly about the myths and truths surrounding breast cancer and why it is crucial to move beyond awareness.
- Participate in the growing social network of compassionate citizens who seek to speak openly about the realities of breast cancer and the need for change. Connect on Pink Ribbon Blues, Facebook, twitter, and everywhere you have an opportunity to speak about health and well being.
- Start a book club. Read, share, and analyze comprehensive books about breast cancer and pink culture.
- Hold a Brown Bag Lunch. Share the myths, truths, and critical perspectives about breast cancer with your colleagues and friends during lunch.
- Write an “Op-Ed” piece or “Letter to the Editor” outlining key facts or issues about breast cancer, sharing the evidence that backs your statements. Mention why the issue is important to you. Check out tips from the Op-Ed Project.
- Contact schools, organizations, medical centers, and anyone engaged in breast cancer related fundraising or awareness activities. Tell them what you would like to see happen in terms of awareness, fundraising, support, and discussion, and tell them why is important. Post the same to a blog.
- Find an Action. Here are a few: Breast Cancer Action; Breast Cancer Fund; Breast Cancer 2020 Deadline; Kick Action’s Youth-Friendly Guide to Grassroots Organizing).
Take Part In Research
Though breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women on average in her lifetime, 7 out of 8 women (the majority) are not diagnosed with breast cancer. Understanding why these women remain cancer free will help to shed light on what causes breast cancer. The Love/Avon Army of Women is looking for volunteers to take part in this kind of research. The initiative is looking to recruit women of all ages, ethnicities, sizes, and shapes; both women who have had breast cancer and women who have not. It also invites male breast cancer survivors and men who have immediate relatives who’ve been diagnosed. For more information, go to www.armyofwomen.org.
- Post the Army Of Women videos: video 1, video 2
- Post video about Dr. Susan Love and the Million Women Army
Support Your Local Community and Those Organizing For Change
- Contact local organizers of breast cancer activities and events to offer evidence-based information, insight, and the urge to move beyond awareness.
- Follow your money.
- Cut out the “middle man” and give directly to organizations.
- Earmark contributions when giving to organizations with large budgets (i.e., if research is most important to you, then designate your contributions accordingly.)
- Support the community-based organizations in your state that fill gaps in services, support, and advocacy.
- Identify organizations that move beyond awareness and support them with monetary and in-kind contributions.
- Collaborate with hospitals, schools, and community groups to support people with chronic illness.
- Start a Support Program: Here’s how, from Metavivor.
Share Your Experience
- Email Pink Ribbon Blues to share what you did, how it went, and what you would recommend to others about taking action to move beyond awareness.
- Here are some of the ACTIONS people have taken.