Friday, October 01, 2010

Think Pink Panther

Starting today you're likely to be inundated with urgings to think pink, buy pink, drink pink, wear pink, wash pink, eat pink, sit on pink, drive pink, just pink pink pink pink pink. It's for a good cause, so why shouldn't you, right?

Don't get me wrong some of my best friends are breast cancer survivors. To say nothing of my mother. (Cancer free almost 20 years, go mom!) However, as one of those friends, Audio Girl, reminded me today, we need to think before we "pink." A lot of the obvious choices for support aren't actually helping women with breast cancer very much, if at all. I trust Audio Girl to have done the research to find legitimately helpful organizations to support. Here are some that were mentioned in the thread she started on Facebook:

There's another thing you might not know about cancer: women don't just get breast cancer. Women get all kinds of cancer. I could justify using this occasion to plug the support of any form of cancer. Maybe I ought to use it to rant out my real fears about the path that medical research is going down which may be hindering the search for every cure. I'm going to talk about lung cancer, though.

Yesterday, during a routine conversation with ChemE, we touched on Christmas plans. Unsurprisingly it's going to be different this year. I wasn't upset, no more than I usually am about Christmas, it's more anxiety than anything else. After we got off the phone, though, I went under a brief, strong wave of missing Mrs. X.

Mrs. X died of lung cancer almost 4 years ago. Never smoked, lived in a suburban to rural area, didn't cure meat for a living. Her cancer story is not perfectly unique. A lot more people, especially women, who do not have lifestyle markers for lung cancer find themselves blindsided by an aggressive form of it. Research for this type of cancer is funded far less lavishly than breast cancer. The American Lung Association is doing its best to bring positive attention to lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses but there's a challenge to spin doctors with a disease that has automatic blame factors. You'll notice that the first thing I did when I mentioned Mrs. X's disease was to disclaim hard and long for fear you'd think she deserved her cancer. As much as I abhor smoking (people who smoke underneath my window, I'm looking at you) no one deserves this shit.

So this October I do hope that you think about cancer, cancer research, cancer funding, cancer survivors and most especially cancer prevention. But I hope you think beyond the color of a label. I've known you guys a while now, though. I'm sure you will.


  1. I'm trying again. May have to send you another email. I've just been diagnosed with Lymphoma. Had my first chemo a week ago, and the second one yesterday. Next one is in 3 weeks. Look for the baldy in Salt Lake City.

  2. Oh Gail, I'm so sorry to hear that. Does sound like you're keeping a good grip on your sense of humor, though. Is there anything we can do from here (here being all the places we are)?