Another message from Andrea…
It’s October. This is the time of year when the weather turns cooler, the days turn shorter, and the trees turn more brilliant. It’s also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You see it everywhere. From pink-themed items on display for sale at the checkout counters to promises from major brands to make a breast cancer donation for every specialty product purchased. Even the NFL players are decked out with bright pink gloves, shoes and towels which will be auctioned off for charity.
Despite the consumer-focus of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there are two things you should definitely do in October. First, pay attention to your health and the health of those you love. Second, rather than buying breast cancer-themed products, consider making a financial contribution directly to an organization in your community that specifically addresses cancer, breast cancer and women’s health.
Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, October should be a reminder to pay attention to your health. If it has been more than a year since you had a check-up with your doctor, make an appointment. Today. If you think something is not right–if you notice a new lump or you feel some pain, make an appointment with your doctor. Today. Be sure to encourage the people who are important in your life to take care of themselves as well.
Indeed, October is a great time to make necessary changes to put you on a path towards a healthy lifestyle. If you’re not eating a healthy diet that is dominated by fresh fruits and vegetables and that avoids packaged and processed foods, this is a great time to start. Forget about New Year’s Day, October is as good a time as any to resolve–and stick to–an exercise program. Do you still smoke? Then quit. Do you get enough sleep? If not, organize your life so you get a good seven hours of quality sleep every night. Whatever changes you think you need to make in your life so that you can be healthier, do it now. Today.
The second thing you should do for Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to consider making a financial contribution directly to organizations in your community that specifically address cancer, breast cancer and women’s health. There are many fine organizations that do amazing things. Some provide preventative information and screenings. Others offer support and resources to people and their care-givers going through a diagnosis of cancer. Still others are dedicated to research, making advancements and discovering new treatments to allow people to live longer and, better yet, avoid cancer altogether. Here are some of my favorite organizations:
Young Survivial Coalition is young women facing breast cancer together. “Your donation truly makes a difference, because it provides funding for our essential programs and resources, which allow young women to feel empowered and hopeful.”
American Cancer Society is saving lives by helping people stay well, get well, find cures, & fight back.
Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research supports vital breast cancer research and patient assistance at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).
Vicki Speakman Memorial Fund supports and promotes breast cancer awareness and education, and provides funding to organizations for crucial breast cancer programs and services.
Pelotonia 100% of all fund raised by Pelotonia directly support cancer research conducted at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio provides up-to-date, clear, medically accurate information that helps you better understand your sexual health.
With my personal history of breast cancer, and with my many years as an informal advocate for women–particularly young women–with breast cancer, I have become increasingly disillusioned with Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the emphasis on consumerism. While I agree that raising awareness about breast cancer is super important and the substantial donations made by these major brands is far more than each of us could make individually, I reject that buying a pink t-shirt or wearing pink ribbons or eating pink candy is the most effective way to make a difference. If you really want to make a difference, don’t simply buy products. Rather, do two things: pay attention to your health (and the health of those you love), and directly support organizations focused on cancer, breast cancer and women’s health.
My husband has been bugging me to get a colonoscopy. My doctors say this is an important thing for me to do because of my history of breast cancer. I have been putting this off. I am going to walk the talk. I am going to make an appointment. Today.