According to the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, today, October 13, 2018, marks the 10th Anniversary of National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. We often forget in this era of Susan B. Komen, Ford’s Warriors in Pink (don’t get me started on that one today–I’ll write a Think Before You Pink post later), pink ribbons, and October’s ’cause’ focus on breast cancer, that there was time where BC was in the closet. Less than 50 years ago, when Betty Ford in 1974 went public about her breast cancer and mastectomy, bc wasn’t discussed in public. People whispered about it, but there weren’t support groups or walks or blogs or awareness of this awful disease. Now we have gone in many ways into the opposite direction, blasting out this emphasis on pink and BC awareness, that is actually superficial and only tells part of the story. In our world of sound bites, the idea of mammograms ‘saving’ lives is a prime example. Yes, early detection is a good thing, but it isn’t the ‘cure’ or the antidote that is going to make someone better. The sound bites and the general BC awareness campaigns are still leaving metastatic breast cancer in the closet.
Metavivor asks the following:
When we focus on raising funds for organizations whose leaders are ‘making big bank’ (being paid salaries that make you go ‘hmmmm…’), we aren’t focusing our monies on research and improving treatments that can make MBC into a manageable disease and truly finding life saving treatments. When MBC stays in the closet, we don’t support our friends and family who have the disease as knowledgeably or compassionately as we should in this era of shared of information. When we ignore the reality of MBC and statistics that give MBC patients only 18-24 months of living after diagnosis, we don’t lobby to eliminate the 24-month waiting period for those on social security before Medicare kicks in.
Here’s the thing, in the nearly 7 years of being part of the BC club, I’ve already lost too many people I’ve come to care about to MBC. My ROW teammate, Christa. Catherine Brunelle who wrote the beautiful website Bumpyboobs. Scorchy at The Sarcastic Boob who took the career path I would have loved to journey down as an important archivist. Lisa Boncheck Adams who had a way with words that I can only aspire to and was one of the few people I have actively followed on Twitter. Karen Sutherland, a fellow Michigan Girl, who blessed us in the blogosphere with her wonderful comments. My Aunt Anna, whose voice and laughter I still hear and they can make me smile. And there are too many others who briefly entered my world, that I wish I would have known longer.
We can do better.