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Pink Ribbons, Mixed Emotions
| October 18, 2011
A recent USA Today article explored the mixed emotions that the ubiquitous pink ribbons, shirts, and other merchandise can evoke during October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. ' While most people say the event has succeeded in raising awareness of breast cancer, some are concerned with the turn the pervasive marketing has taken. ' For example, breast cancer survivor Lisa Bonchek Adams writes in These Things Are Not Tied With a Pink Ribbon, 'It's not that I don't want attention called to the disease that affects so many people including me; it's more that I think the focus has gotten misplaced.' ' Lisa's awareness lasts longer than a month, since the cancer and its treatments have made lasting changes to her body.
For some survivors, all that pink can be overwhelming, and the push for awareness causes pain and sadness.' ' For Kathi Kolb, October brings dread and heartache for her friends who have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer and the friends she has lost to the disease.' ' She feels that October is a time for grieving and remembrance. ' She writes, 'I'm on vacation from work, but beyond the stresses and strains of everyday life, I feel like I need a vacation from breast cancer awareness itself.'' '
Elaine Schattner, on the other hand, is glad to spot a pink ribbon. ' Both a doctor and a breast cancer survivor herself, Elaine points out on her Medical Lessons blog that not too long ago, breast cancer was not often talked about. ' 'Twenty years ago, and even ten, many women I' knew took their treat'ments silently. ' Few dis'closed their illness to others in the com'munity. ' Many lacked open sources of infor'mation or support,' she writes.
But has it raised awareness and support for everyone alike?' Blogger Afrochemo believes that the way breast cancer awareness has been marketed creates the impression that breast cancer is primarily a problem for white women.' But, as she points out in Pink is the New Black, black women also get breast cancer: 'Now I know that this month is important' It informs people to look out for warning signs and symptoms, and it attempts to remove the stigma of breast cancer.' But as a marketing brand, it surely needs re-working."
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