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07 November 2008 @ 10:19 am
Jealous of all the pink  
The cereal I'm eating for breakfast comes out of a box decorated with a pink ribbon on the front, and the entire back panel and a side panel advertise the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

Ordinarily this wouldn't bother me, but in October, I saw pink clothing, pink cookware, pink just about everything being sold with a portion of the proceeds to go to some organization funding breast cancer research (frequently Susan G. Komen for the Cure). I know it's no longer National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This complaint is a little late. But why do we even have a Breast Cancer Awareness Month? What about Diabetes Awareness Month, or Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, which both happen to be November, or my personal pick, Heart Disease Awareness Month, in February? Where are the custom cell phone cases promoting those?

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 329,250 women in the United States died of heart disease in 2005 (apparently the latest year for which they have stats), compared with 268,890 women who died of malignant neoplasms -- that's all kinds of cancer put together. In fact, heart disease is the overall leading cause of death in the United States.

Now, I certainly have nothing against raising money to research any particular disease. But if we're going to have a massive advertising campaign, shouldn't it be directed at the disease that kills the most people, or sickens the most people? It looks like there's a start, but I've never noticed heart disease getting anywhere near the attention that breast cancer receives. Besides, a lot of the companies that take advantage of pink to sell their products don't donate very much to research, and some of the products even have carcinogenic ingredients.

Anyway. I will look forward to National Hot Tea Month.
Feeling: crankypeevish
Greggregstoll on November 7th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
Here's my guess:

Heart disease seems to be mostly caused by high cholesterol, which most people (somewhat correctly?) see as being caused by eating unhealthily and not exercising. So I bet people see heart disease as somewhat being "your fault" if you don't eat right, etc. On the other hand, there are some environmental causes to cancer but it's not such a cause-and-effect relationship. People are invariably more frightened of things they have no control over. (airplane crashes versus car crashes)
Greggregstoll on November 7th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
Also, heart attacks seem very sudden, whereas cancer takes a while to kill, which means you have a better chance of knowing someone who is dying of cancer? Maybe?
la serenissima: real lifecopperwolf on November 7th, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC)
It's true that heart attacks seem to come on suddenly, and aristeros made this point to me over our breakfast cereal. But heart failure is a chronic condition, and if a doctor had the opportunity to diagnose someone with cancer, I'd think she would also have the opportunity to make the patient aware of cardiovascular problems.
la serenissima: observercopperwolf on November 7th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
Then, how about colorectal cancer? It kills and sickens more people than breast cancer. Body part too gross to mention? Lung cancer has an even higher incidence, although I don't know how much of that is due to smoking.
one in a billionsiege on November 8th, 2008 04:30 am (UTC)
Excellent point - especially the "me too"-ism. You see this with all those "Support the Troops" thingies. Basically meaningless if the producer doesn't actually support the cause in any significant way.