The ABC Cancer Diaries

A young, American-Born-Chinese woman living with metastatic breast cancer

Why I Don’t Believe in Pink Ribbons October 4, 2008

Okay, it’s time for a post on the politics of breast cancer.

Many before me have written very eloquently on this issue, so I encourage readers to follow the links for more in depth discussions. In a nutshell, as fall arrives in September we gear up for colder weather, falling leaves, and the….

dreaded onslaught of all things pink to commemorate


The sad truth is that many, many people are all too aware of breast cancer. It is not a rare, unheard of illness. Many of us have friends, family, friends of friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and even public figures (Elizabeth Edwards, Sheryl Crow, Linda McCartney, etc.) that have dealt with this illness, so one of my main beefs with this silly pseudo holiday is that it does not change the fact that I still have breast cancer and there isn’t a cure yet. I don’t need to be made any more aware of it because I deal with it on a constant basis. More importantly,I have an even smaller need for pink donuts, pink lapel pins, pink t-shirts, pink boxers, pink cars, pink cuisinarts, pink yogurt caps or even a pink mattress! I mean come on folks!!!

Think before you pink.


Select Cause Marketing.

Call it want you want, but being guilted into buying some product because a company will donate 1 percent or another meager percent of their profits to a breast cancer foundation is hardly worth the effort. I know my tone might be harsh, but when I see these ads in October I also ask (rhetorically) “If people want to help the cause why don’t they just give the amount of money that they would spend buying whatever pink-thing directly to an organization that is actively involved in research or providing support services?” I don’t know, I guess it’s easier to rationalize that you were going to buy a bag anyway so that pinkish one serves a good cause so why not. I suppose there are those who aren’t even aware of this issue too. So please if you really want to have your money go towards a real effort remember:

Breast cancer is a disease and it cannot be fought by buying a pink colored item!

So, when October 13th rolls around, please reconsider all the efforts to make you consume mindlessly.

Also, consider recognizing October 13th as the official Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. After all, many people already know about breast cancer, but how many of your friends, colleagues, or family know how many women currently live with stage IV or advanced stage breast cancer? (Besides New York City, Chicago, Princeton, and Georgia to name a few, have already recognized this day, isn’t time you did?)

Finally, if you feel compelled to spend this season, please consider donating to an organization whose primary purpose is to directly help women with breast cancer. Here are some of my suggestions.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Network – The main advocacy group for women with metastatic breast cancer.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Information and Support — The largest online community of people with advanced breast cancer. This is the place to get info about the latest treatments, alternative treatments, and to connect with others with metastatic breast cancer.

S.H.A.R.E. – Offers free support to women with breast and ovarian cancer. Many support groups and support work is on a volunteer basis

National Breast Cancer Coalition — Advocacy for breast cancer research, lobbies for more federal funding.


4 Responses to “Why I Don’t Believe in Pink Ribbons”

  1. […] Why I Don’t Believe in Pink Ribbons   […]

  2. GDH1 Says:

    Be careful what you say about ribbons, Wynne. You don’t want these guys coming after you:

  3. kaylynne50 Says:

    I totally agree with you on the pink ribbon thing……even before I got BC myself, I thought it was kind of stupid. Now I think it is sign of commercialism at it’s worst.

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