Forget the Pink: The Real Cure is Prevention

Here it is again, October, which is designated breast cancer awareness month. This is the month when all is awash in pink.  At this point, plenty of bloggers have pointed out the hypocrisy and pitfalls of the “think pink” movement, so I leave it to them to continue to beat that drum.

Today, I’d like to present two sources that are helpful in understanding and combating breast cancer. The first is an interview on the NPR program “Fresh Air,” in which Terry Gross interviews Dr. Elisa Port. Maybe some of you have already heard this interview. I happened to catch it during drive time around town. Although Dr. Port doesn’t cover all the intricacies of the various types and treatments for breast cancer, she gives an up-to-date overview of the topic, including a good discussion of the current state of research and treatment related to genetic mutations. I found the interview helpful because it is grounded in the facts, not the myths and rumors, about breast cancer. You can find the interview here.

The second source appeared in my e-mailbox just this evening. I don’t know the fine details of the Rethink the Pink organization behind this website, but I was ever-so-glad to see the focus on prevention beyond the usual “diet-exercise” discussion. This site addresses the environmental factors related to breast cancer, specifically the chemicals in health and beauty products that have never been tested or specifically labeled as carcinogenic. Caveat: It does promote products, but with the purpose of giving alternatives to the usual chemical-laden products we find on store shelves. You can find the site here.

Enough of the pink parties. Let’s get serious about real prevention that offers effective alternatives and doesn’t make us feel guilty.

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Octobra and Tutus: The Pink Month Revisited

Portrait of a young girl in pink dress.

Portrait of a young girl in pink dress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

There’s no getting away from it – it’s the Pink Month again. As they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. This year, it’s all about fashion.

Like gloves and dancing? Here’s the sequel. You won’t dance alone.

Just don’t try to play the guitar.

The exhibitionists among us can don the Madonna look. But you will see neither me nor my cup size here.

As a former ballerina, I can fully support the Tutu Project. The man behind this brilliant idea talks about his project here. And if you’re inspired to make your own tutu, here are some instructions. Choreography not included.

Yes, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month — again.  If you must do it, just Think Before You Pink.

Anything But Pink

At this time a year ago, I was fuming about pink. Pink wrappers on my food, pink teddy bears in gift shops, pink ribbons stamped on my eggs.

Dwight D. Eisenhower photo portrait.

Image via Wikipedia

October is my favorite month and, though I’m ecstatic to be a survivor of breast cancer, I am not at all pleased to see the gorgeous reds and yellows of fall co-opted by the industrial-strength commercialism that now passes for breast cancer awareness.

And so, to put things back in perspective, I present here just a sample of the many other special days and causes that are honored in October.  (Many thanks to my sister for this information, which comes from Apples4theTeacher.com.)

Our excursion through the month of October begins on the 2nd, which is the day set aside to honor farm animals, guardian angels, and custodial workers (who might very well be guardian angels for us and the animals).

Next up is the 4th, which is, well, 10-4 day. (Ha!) Do you know where your CB radio is?

The 5th brings us World Teachers’ Day and Do Something Nice Day.  I say we combine these and just make it Do Something Nice for a Teacher Day (which ought to include giving them a raise).

Mad Hatters and German-Americans have their day on the 6th.  We could perhaps combine these two groups too, but that might be asking too much of the Germans.

The 8th brings us American Touch Tag Day, and I can’t think of any better way to celebrate what is also National Children’s Day.

The second week of October has two days we can all relate to: the International Moment of Frustration Scream Day on the 12th and National Grouch Day on the 15th. Two days later, though, we refocus our attention globally and recognize the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.  Too bad we can’t eradicate that problem on that single day.

The 18th is set aside to honor (if you can call it that) National Menopause Day, but whoever designated that day had the foresight to also make it National Chocolate Cupcake Day.

On the 19th, you can Evaluate Your Life, and then follow it up on the 20th with Information Overload Day. (I’m doing my part here, in advance, to ensure you’re sufficiently overloaded come the big day.)

Be aware of reptiles and count your buttons on the 21st. And give the moles their day on the 23rd. (Your cranky co-workers get theirs on the 27th.)

Statue of St Jude on the West Front of Salisbu...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m glad to see that my birthday, the 28th, is National Chocolates Day and also St. Jude’s Day.  My mother named me after St. Jude (sort of), her favorite saint, but I am by no means a hopeless case. I prefer to reflect his characteristic of perseverance.

Those of you with psoriasis can celebrate on the 29th. And anyone unable to wait for Halloween will happily recognize Candy Corn Day on the 30th.  Why not on the 31st?  Because Halloween is reserved not just for spooks but caramel apples, and magic, as well.

I noticed that a number of Presidents were born in October:  Jimmy Carter on the 1st, Rutherford B. Hayes, a fellow Ohioan, on the 4th, Chester Arthur on the 5th,  Dwight Eisenhower on the 14th, Teddy Roosevelt on the 27th, and John Adams on the 30th. I do wonder what Roosevelt would think of those pink teddy bears.  He doesn’t seem the kind of guy who would have ever worn pink. If you really want to go all out for these guys, you can download the coloring pages for each of them at Apples4theTeacher.com.

Eleanor Roosevelt: political activist, First L...

Image via Wikipedia

A couple of First Ladies also celebrate birthdays this month — Eleanor Roosevelt on the 11th (which is also National Coming Out Day), and Hillary Clinton on the 26th (also known as Mule Day). Why the odd combinations on these days? One can only speculate.

Because some causes deserve more than just a day, we have a few special weeks in October.  National Carry a Tune Week and Nuclear Medicine Week share the 2nd through the 8th. Customer Service Week comes a tad later, from the 3rd through the 7th. (I think EVERY week should be dedicated to customer service. We seem to have forgotten what that is.)

The 16th through the 22nd is an especially busy week:  Kids Care, Teens Read, Chemistry, the YWCA’s Week Without Violence, Food Bank Week, Forest Products, Lead Poisoning Prevention, Freedom from Bullies, Freedom of Speech, and recognition of Medical Assistants. The last week of the month brings us World Hearing Aid Awareness and Give Wildlife a Break.

The really big causes, of course, get to claim the whole month. These include apples (how appropriate), bats (not sure if that’s the wooden or furry type), class reunions, and domestic violence. Emotional intelligence, which leads to emotional wellness (well, DUH!), fair trade, financial planning, and AIDS awareness. It’s the Month of Free Thought (something else we could stand to do all year round), books, caramels, chili, chiropractors, dental hygienists, Down syndrome, and ergonomics.

There’s something called “Gain the Inside Advantage” this month, though I have no clue what that means, and we are all to Go on a Field Trip (all month long?  I like it!). Kitchens and baths get the whole month, as do popcorn popping (oops, that poppin’), roller skating and raptors.  And if that’s not enough, we are to honor photographers and right-brained people, and hold conversations about prescriptions.

Two activities I can really enjoy this whole month are Sarcastic Awareness and Self-promotion (does that include the shameless type?).

And if you didn’t get enough of the hot flashes on the 18th, you can indulge yourself every day, no matter where you are, because it’s World Menopause month.

All sarcasm aside…

The list is a reminder that life is full of strange and wonderful things.

Autumn leaves

Image via Wikipedia