Are you aware?


Approximately once a week, I receive an email from the Komen NC Breast Cancer Awareness Society. The most recent email invited me to the Triangle’s “Pink Fest,” an event for breast cancer awareness that will feature massages, hair and nail care, hors d’ oeuvres and beverages. It comes off as a pleasant party, one that I would love to take part in. But with emails similar to this filling my mailbox weekly, I couldn’t help but wonder if Breast Cancer Awareness is huge party, rather than a search for the cure.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for breast cancer awareness and the quest for a cure, but is all the attention given to breast cancer taking attention away from the true tragedy of breast cancer itself?

Breast cancer is not at all a glamorous disease, but it’s no secret that breast cancer is one of the more glamorous causes to support. It isn’t uncommon to see boys jokingly sporting “Save The Ta-Ta’s” T-shirts and girls wearing “Breast Cancer Pink” lipstick.

Due to all the hype that surrounds breast cancer, one would assume that it is the most deadly or wide spread form of cancer, therefore calling for the most attention. It isn’t.

Breast cancer does affect hundreds of thousands of people and deserves just as much money and awareness as it can conjure, but these attempts at awareness are usually received the wrong way. Rather than exposing the bitter truth of the awful disease,  awareness fanatics tend to get attention with frilly pink bows and big parties that provide hors d’ oeuvres and beverages.

In the sixth season of Sex and the City, Samantha Jones (Kim Catrell), was diagnosed with breast cancer. She struggled with chemotherapy treatments like many cancer patients do.

While overcoming the disease, she was invited to deliver a speech at a breast cancer benefit party, one with beverages and hors d’ oeuvres.

Samantha started her speech as one would expect. She discussed bravery and strength and the face of cancer.

Towards the end of the speech, Samantha had an epiphany. “If anyone is having hot flashes like I am right now, they deserve a medal. Bad enough I lose my hair, now I have my face running down my couture,” Samantha told the crowd. “Oh, to hell with it,” Samantha sighed as she ripped off her wig, revealing her hairless, sweating head.

As crude as Samantha Jones may be, she has the right idea. She pointed out the ugliness of the disease, rather than putting a pink bow on it.

People should pay more attention how cancer affects people, rather than buying a pink bracelet and proclaiming to be “aware.”


  1. I have read this argument in several publications aimed at adults – thank you for pointing out the ‘dark pink’ side of this issue to a younger readership. While I am all for raising money for cancer research of any kind, I also wonder if the great pink marketing machine has gotten off-track. This was an exceptionally well-written article. Excellent job!


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