Oh dear. It is that time of year where women start posting crass comments on facebook about the colour (of their bra), the state (of their hair), where they like it (left their handbag) and now the latest one, which I can’t possibly reveal – or remember – what it is.
If anyone is interested mine were white, long and messy, and hidden under piles of clothes.
All to raise awareness of breast cancer.
Do you know anyone who hasn’t had breast cancer? Unlikely.
UK stats for 2008 say that of all cancers in women, 31% are for breast cancer. Or a different statistic says that the risk of developing breast cancer is i in 8, ie 12%. You can do anything with statistics.
I have met some great patients with breast cancer, have some lovely friends who have had breast cancer, and I can’t begin to know how they manage to smile and keep going every day after their crap treatment, and everything that really goes with a cancer diagnosis.
But what gripes me about this facebook trivialisation is that I don’t see how it helps anyone.
Why does making a sexually suggestive comment raise awareness of breast cancer? Why do we need to raise awareness of breast – or any other – cancer?
What we need to do is generate a little more knowledge and empathy.
There is nothing funny or light-hearted about being diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening disease.
Openness, honesty, and supporting friends seems to me to be a far better way to go.
Three friends come to mind immediately – one who has set up a facebook support group for cancer survivors and caregivers, another, who has posed for photographs bald and naked. Another has used her talented skills to help other women with chemo problems find the right wigs while they are going through hair loss.
To me, that is what raising awareness of cancer is about.