We are the 30%

30Well, my friends, it’s almost here. Drum roll, please…. Pinktober! Yes, in two weeks Breast Cancer Awareness Month will start and we will be inundated with all sorts of well-meaning pink messages about “saving the boobies”. I’ve written about this before–and I’m sure I will again. 

I’m not against breast cancer awareness, of course not! But I think we’ve moved on to another stage now, the stage where we need to focus on breast cancer treatment and prevention.

My  main issue with Pinktober, though, is that the many associated campaigns overlook the fact that breast cancer is not cute: it is a serious disease. Thirty percent of all people who are diagnosed with breast cancer–no matter at what stage–develop distal metastasis, advanced cancer, and (in the present state of medical knowledge) will probably die from it.

Thirty percent.

This year during the month of October I am going to feature guest posts from men and women who have metastatic breast cancer. Jody Schoger, breast cancer advocate and sister-in-mets, gave me this idea and I love it!

I’d love for everyone with bc mets to participate this month. You can write a post or share an old one. If you are uncertain of your writing skills, we can do an interview. It can be in English, French or Hebrew. Please tell me in the comments or by email (see sidebar) that you are interested. Pretty please?

38 thoughts on “We are the 30%

  1. I look forward to learning more about this. Last year’s Pinktober was a big learning experience for me. I never noticed the advertising slants until I paid attention. It made me sick. When I learned how the research money gets parceled out, I felt worse. I think there’s a lot of people working very hard and ignorant of the bigger picture. So I will be here to read and learn and, I hope, have ideas that might help me to help.

    • Thank you very much for your involvement. I agree with you that there are certainly many people expending time, energy and money without knowing where it all ends up.

      Thank you very much, too, for your latest post that addresses these issues.

  2. It is the misinformation which is being put out there that Breast Cancer is curable that is making so may of us with Mets to angry. Actually it is more than 30% because about 10% of people are diagnoses already at Stage IV. Breast cancer has become about getting a mammogram, but there seems to be little information given about the risks of having repeated mammograms, which are in themselves carcinogenic, but also too many people are led to believe that if they have a mammogram that they cannot get breast cancer. What sort of message is this to promote?

    Cause Marketing has to do with money; the money the company making the product can make, and the extra money that the charity / non-profit can make. Both get kudos from this, the company by showing how much they care, and the non-profit by showing how many companies will go into partnership with them.

    From my blog:

    Cause Marketing is at the centre of the Pinktober / Pink Ribbon movement. It is about a company being seen to be ‘giving’ to a cause, rather than sharing a small part of the profit they make from using the cause. It is about the consumer making a fashion statement, almost as much as it is about supporting a cause. It is almost as though the companies are providing the goods and then it is up to the consumer and the non-profit as to how well they display the item and use the money which is generated. A bit like the argument that arms manufacturers just make the products, it is up to the buyer as to how they use them. In a small way that is true. Pink Ribbon merchandise is just another way to make a profit, but the profit comes from making the consumer believe that the company is a real contributor to the cause and not just taking advantage of another market opening up for them to increase profits. After all, cause marketing is not charity, it is business. The real threat is that it may overtake, or even replace, philanthropy. http://breastcancerconsortium.net/the-unintended-consequences-of-pink-reorienting-the-cause-2/

    In some ways this has already started with some big non-profits being more concerned with Image than Substance, and feeling the need to trademark their name and slogan, and even suing smaller charities for using a slogan that they feel is theirs. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/komen-foundation-charities-cure_n_793176.html

    Don’t charities and non-profits now seem more like a for-profit company, with a CEO with a large pay packet and bonuses and a marketing department? How much money must a charity now have to raise every year just to pay the staff? In addition they have a large number of no-pay workers (volunteers) who are really giving so much to their chosen cause while being ignored when it comes to decision making. What incentive do these paid employees of a charity/non-profit have to actually achieve the ultimate goal of the cause they work for? None. If they achieve the ultimate aim of the organisation they put themselves out of a job which they may have studied at university degree level to equip them for the job. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mitchell-kutney/the-end-game-of-charity_b_3750301.html?ref=topbar

    The ultimate success of Pink Ribbon Cause Marketing should be to ensure that 100% of the product profit goes to find cures for breast cancer. Early Stage Breast Cancer is curable, but still 30% of those diagnosed as Early Stage will have a recurrence and develop Late Stage / Stage IV / Metastatic Breast Cancer, for which there is still no cure, only treatments. Of the money raised for research funding 97% of it goes to researching Early Stage Breast Cancer which does not kill and only 3% to Metastatic Breast Cancer which does. http://www.metavivor.org/Awareness_30430.html They may say that some of the 97% is used for trials on MBC patients, but that is only because we are easier guinea pigs to get hold of (what do we have to lose?) and because the aim of the trial is to have a treatment to prevent cancer spreading and not to treat it once it has spread. It’s not the same thing.

    If charitable organisations become too fixated on Image, Marketing and employing staff, aka ‘attracting the right people to work for them’, with high wages and bonuses as a way of impressing corporate sponsors then aren’t these charitable organisations missing the real reason that they were started in the first place. As someone on a low wage I am not impressed by how much they spend on their ‘non-corporate’ structure, as some corporate sponsors may be, I am impressed by how little they spend on their ‘non-corporate’ structure. After all if I donate money to a charity I don’t want to know that they have to raise ‘x’ amount just to pay the boss. I want to know that my money is going to make a difference to the cause that I choose to support.



  3. Its a double edged sword. I think its awesome people are talking about breast cancer. The ad campaigns and cutesy slogans have at least got the topic out there. But it has always infuriated me that its so glossy – so “perfect”. You have a mammogram, they find breast cancer, you have treatment, done. Its not that way at all! Is it any wonder women (and men) who find themselves with this diagnosis are blown away – because no one told them in the 30 second blurb on tv that there was chemo that would make you sick, surgery that could go awry, and the even worse possibility that the cancer could spread? Its like letting you have a small bite of a delicious pie crust, but when you actually get the pie you discover the filling is just mud. Its almost criminal!

  4. I thankfully have never been diagnosed with any variety of cancer, but what an eye opener this blog, and this topic have been to me! Thank you T.K. for your work.
    prayers and Blessings

  5. dear KT,

    a fabulous idea! I’M ALL IN. but I may need an interview to help cut to the chase – so many complexities that may or may not be relevant, and in my present state of mind, I might not be the one to judge – plus I may tend to be too verbose. and a very important question – are F-bombs allowed?

    much love and thanks for all you are doing for us,

    Karen,, XOXOXOXOX

  6. un soir je me suis retrouvée au bord d’une falaise . je sentais que tout mon corps était attiré vers l’eau qui bouillonnait en bas et derrière moi je voyais ce joli chemin tranquille sur le terre ferme , ma famille, ma vie….
    pendant trois mois les médecins m’ont tenu en haut de cette falaise comme une paire de bretelles ….( ce n’est pas un cancer . on ne sait pas. mammographie rien, biopsie pas claire , etc…
    puis ce fut le grand saut , et puis l’entrée dans l’eau a été violente douloureuse paniquante (CIS et métastases)…
    j’ai commencé la traversée de cet océan dont je sais qu’il serait rempli de vagues , de tempêtes, de tourbillon à éviter ,ou à combattre ,qui essaieraient de m’engloutir…
    il y a la fatigue de nager , l’épuisement; surement certains jours viendra l’envie de se laisser couler … et ces vagues qui ne cesseront pas … impossible de savoir à quelle distance est la côte …
    et puis dans cet océan il y a mes proches qui au lieu de me laisser sauter seule ont embarqué dans un bateau et m’accompagnent ,m’encouragent, sont là à mes côtés, contre vents et marées ….je les vois sourire , je ris avec eux !!! ;;; ils sont là ils me donnent la force de nager encore et encore envers et contre tout…
    j’espère avoir la chance de trouver une île sur laquelle me poser quelques mois , quelques années???
    mais je sais qu’il faudra bien un jour replonger et nager encore et encore … peut être aurais -je la chance de trouver un archipel …

  7. Pingback: What breast cancer awareness should mean: « Dglassme's Blog

  8. Would you be willing to publish a blog about findings of a cancer study that utilizes natural products and has had significant scientific research to back it up? I took one of their abstracts and put it into more understandable words that I would love to share with this group.

  9. I don’t have a blog, but I have been doing a lot of writing just to express my own thoughts and feelings. I was stage 3 Inflammatory Breast Cancer, but had a recurrence in my spine, so now I’m stage 4. My latest PET scan (August) says I’m in remission, but I’m still on two meds as mine was estrogen positive. I was thinking maybe I could send you something.

  10. Pingback: Call for posts: Reminder | Telling Knots

  11. Pingback: What Breast Cancer Awareness Should Mean « Dglassme's Blog

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