Sunday, September 5, 2010

Its (fill in cancer type) awareness month

Its September.  Its Prostate, Ovarian, Childhood, Thryoid & Gynecological awareness month.  Everyone grab your ribbon color of choice and wear it proudly.  

I am a breast cancer survivor, we get a month, and pink is plastered everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE, it sells everything from hair brushes (ironic since most breast cancer survivors lose their hair) to tuna fish and toilet paper (Wipe for the cure??)   

So I go into the grocery store and do shopping as I usually do and I don't see any thing yellow or teal or blue promoting childhood, ovarian or prostate cancer awareness.  Why is that?  My cancer isn't any more or less important than any other cancer survivor.  The only thing I have seen on tv or in the stores was a Hyundai commercial stating that they would donate a certain percentage of car sales to childhood cancer awareness.
At least someone is doing something right?

I consider myself a cancer advocate, not just for breast cancer, but for all cancers, even if it is one I can't pronounce or have never heard of.  Its ridiculous in my opinion to give cancers certain months.  I was diagnosed in September, cancer didn't wait for its allotted month to strike me.  Cancer doesn't do that. Those of us who have been diagnosed know that.

 We shouldn't wait until a certain month to raise awareness for any type of cancer, and the whole cancer awareness thing really gets me, is there anyone anywhere who isn't aware that there is cancer?  If I buy chicken of the sea with a pink ribbon on it the money should go towards research, helping other survivors, finding a cure, finding better meds to deal with the cancer, not for awareness. 

During the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Empowerment Rally I was fortunate to meet in person, after being a I guess for lack of a better term a" friend in the virtual world" Matthew Zachary, founder or I'm Too Young for This!  a foundation that helps young adult survivors.  We shared a ride to the airport and we were discussing cancer "awareness" Basically he said we should think of the body as a whole, not as parts, all the organizations should help each other.  I totally agree.  Yeah, you might think breasts are sexy and they sell, but if you don't have the lungs behind them to work or the brain to think  or skin, then what are they?  Just another body part with cancer.

So yeah for me every month is cancer awareness/advocacy month.  Until there is a cure.

Mel is the producer/co-host of The Vic McCarty Show.  Listen live Monday-Friday 10am-noon eastern on

Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on available on demand and on Itunes.


  1. Excellent point. People know cancer exists...maybe not all types but they have a general idea that you can get it in all different organs.

    They really need to cut down on awareness spending, how about raise money to find cures or help people who actually have cancer cope. Having cancer is tough on many levels, not just physically but socially and emotionally.

    One of my personal favorite nonprofits is the Cancer Support Community. They raise money to offer support groups and programs across the country. They also raise money to conduct research. One of their current studies focuses on finding what aspects of life women with breast cancer are having a tough time with so that better programs and services can be offered to them. So cool. Check it out:

  2. I do agree, essentially, with your point, but I also understand the awareness month concept. The Breast Cancer community rallied together all those many years ago, and helped raise awareness and much needed funds for research. As a member of the underfunded pediatric oncology 'childhood cancer' community, I hope to do much the same thing. We know from advocates before us, that awareness leads to funding, which leads to research, which leads to cures.
    The media is more likely to pick up stories about childhood cancer during September -- so perhaps we can think of the Awareness Month concept as a tool. Not the only one, certainly, but a tool to help us get funding for studies that might lead to better, less-toxic treatments for all, and eventually the elimination of cancer all together. Until then, I will continue to focus my efforts on raising awareness for littlest warriors facing the journey, and on working for more collaboration between researchers.
    Fondly and with HOPE! ~karla

  3. every month should be consider as a cancer awareness month.