Ever since my mom got sick, this thought has been rattling around my brain.
It’s unfortunate that the prevalence of support for breast cancer outpaces support for all the other types of female-specific cancers. In terms of awareness that it even exists, cancers including cervical, ovarian, and uterine fall low on many lists. In terms of financial support, breast cancer is so ridiculously overfunded that if funds were properly redistributed, it would quantifiably impact underfunded cancers like liver and pancreatic.
So let’s talk breast cancer. Pink ribbons, saving the boobies, (insert sport/event of choice) for the Cure. It’s hard to make it through October without seeing some form of empty breast cancer “support.” (Click here for the history of the pink ribbon.) But my biggest problem with the breast cancer support movement is the way they have managed to sexualize it. I don’t think people should be supporting breast cancer monetarily to save some tatas; they should support cancer research because people want and need cures for their diseases. Part of the reason breast cancer is so well funded is because of the ease and ability to market boobs over other female reproductive parts. No one cares about saving ovaries or cervixes. No one makes posters with fallopian tubes shouting, “Save me!”
When my mom was sick, the last thing she cared about was looking sexy. If she had had breast cancer, and it would have saved her life, she would have had a mastectomy in a heartbeat. She made the choice to remove an organ, the first home of her children, in favor of early menopause and NOT DYING. Supporting cancer isn’t about saving bodies (or sex appeal) for yourself; it’s about saving other people’s lives.
Go forth and SAVE LIVES!