EDITORIAL: BREAST CANCER AWARENESS UNDERWHELMS

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EDITORIAL: BREAST CANCER AWARENESS UNDERWHELMS

Rebecca Wood

For years breast cancer has outshone testicular cancer. Teaming up, they will bring equal awareness to all cancer types.

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Another Pinktober passes; pink ribbons, previously strewn across the country, now populate only the trash cans. Breast cancer is perhaps the most publicized form of cancer. It is the only cancer with a whole month dedicated to spreading awareness. Unfortunately, its popularity contributes to both its own misrepresentation and the representation of other cancers.

Freshman Edward Harwell said, “I feel it is good to promote awarenesss. We should do more to support [awareness of] all forms of cancer, not just breast cancer.”

Because of Pinktober, breast cancer research receives much more funding than any other cancer research. Numerous corporations donate funds yearly to the cause: Estée Lauder has donated over $25 million to the cause as part of the Pink Ribbon campaign, which many companies participate in. The National Cancer Institute donated $600 million dollars in 2012. Other fundraisers globally add to the hundreds of millions of dollars thrown at breast cancer.

Despite this gratuitous funding in the Western world implying that breast cancer is the worst cancer, breast cancer has an 84% survival rate, one of the highest cancer survival rates. Pinktober serves only to detract cancer funding and awareness from other deadly cancers to breast cancer. Lung cancer has a 15% survival rate, yet only receives half of the funding from the NCI, and has few awareness campaigns, despite affecting 200,000 more people annually than breast cancer. Colon cancer claimed the lives of 600,000 people in 2008, 50% of those diagnosed.

Senior Miten Patel said, “Breast cancer funding takes away from superior forms of cancer.”

Breast cancer isn’t only stealing the thunder from other cancers, but the campaign to end breast cancer is also massively misleading and full of shady dealings. The Pink Ribbon campaign allows companies to cooperate with breast cancer organizations in order to raise money for breast cancer, an act called cause-related marketing. Companies often take advantage of this. By displaying the pink ribbon on products, companies are providing an incentive to consumers to buy the product insisting that proceeds will go to breast cancer research. However, the Breast Cancer Awareness association has noted that most of these companies donate negligible amounts of their proceeds to breast cancer research.

Supporting breast cancer awareness or Pinktober isn’t a bad thing. It’s still a good cause to donate money to. But it’s important to remember that there are other colors than pink.

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