Pinktober – Is it becoming a war zone?

P1nk66 TurtleIt is only early October and already I can see that it stirs such strong emotions from so many corners that it is bound to be a talking point as the corners come together with their opinions.  Well this is my first Pinktober after being diagnosed with Advanced Breast Cancer and after eight years as a Early Breast Cancer Survivor. I figured that I have a few things to say too and what better time to do it that early in the month !!!  So here goes.

All things pink….
I have seen some lovely articles written and also some very motivated “pages” and “.orgs” ripping into the “pink phenomenon” and I am fine with the fact depending on which articles you are reading there seems to be two paths:

Using breast cancer as a way to raise sales
– where only a very small portion (usually x cents per sale up to $x) of it is donated or;
– the products are seen as full of chemicals and non organic items.

Well, sure, it is good to have an opinion and also to be interested in where the money goes and how the products will impact those who use them but you know, not once did I see in any of these articles what a suitable alternative was..  Just bitching and carrying on about how we should boycott one company or another without an alternative or solution  is just plain one sided, irresponsible and indeed creating more drama and mischief than is needed.   I never dismiss an opinion, everyone is entitled to one. But what does really get me is when there is lots of noise made about the “problem” but there is no solution offered.

You see, we all have a choice, to buy or not but a pink product – it is our very own right.  If you want to donate or help out then find an organisation that does that sort of things that you care about and donate directly.  In Australia there are two that come to mind – The National Breast Cancer Foundation – who’s plan is zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030. They fund research to help reach this goal. Then there is the Breast Cancer Network Australia – Who offer good solid information and support to people with breast cancer and their families, whilst also lobbying the Government for better outcomes for patients.

So basically, stop whinging people and make an “informed” choice.  Donate or purchase or do not.. Simple !

Early Breast Cancer ‘v’ Advanced Breast Cancer Awareness

This month is when everyone stands up slaps on something pink and tells you to check your boobies and get a mammogram.  Well I may have Metastatic, Advanced, Secondary (you choose) Breast Cancer and I cannot say to you that the statistics are not correct and that the 5 and 10 year survival rate they are indeed better than they has ever been. I sadly cannot dispute the 20-30% figure of people who end up with Advanced Breast Cancer either. There are also so many numbers that are not collected and that is where the disputes begin.

I hate the fact that it seems to become a battle between get it early and you will be fine and what about the people with advanced.  You see we may be in two separate baskets but we are indeed all in the same basket.  Do I want a cure, you bet I do and I hope that one is found sooner rather than later as I keep seeing wonderful people who lose their battle all too often.

But, I will never ever move away from shouting about self-examination and mammograms because if you cannot find it early then the chances of a recurrence or metastatic just keep on moving up that statistics scale.  I was actually not too high up that scale and I still had it return and that is just the way it is for me. But there are many, many women who are alive and well today due to early intervention and until we find a cure it is the best and only way to improve your chances of survival.

Statistics are just that, they are numbers and they are black and white.  But we live in a multi-coloured world and so there is always going to be people who fall outside the statistics. Why? well just because is as good as answer as any.  This is such a multi-layered disease, with so many variables and that alone makes it such a slippery little character to corner and kill.

So I say this, I hope that they find a way to lower the rate of people who end up with advanced breast cancer as no-one should have to go through what myself and thousands around the place have to go through from the day they are diagnosed until the day it cannot be stopped any longer (usually only a few exceptions to this rule). But in the meantime we need to get the message out there that early detection is the best defence..  As there is no easy answer.

During this October, take a moment to think about all of those who are fighting this disease.  For all it is a terrible and can be quite stressful. If we are lucky we fight this, move on past it and never return to it.

But for those who have it return to their door again it is a long and sometimes hidden battle. Take the time to ask R U OK ??..   People with advanced Breast Cancer are not people to be feared. We are just the ones who found it at their doors and deal with it the best way we can. We are still here and still alive and yes, we want to live !!!

If we all join and work towards the common goal then I just know we can beat this. But we need to care for each other and stop pink bashing !!!  After all it is just one single colour in the rainbow of possibilities


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