One way to help redefine breast cancer awareness is to avoid the games that people spread on social networking sites, like Facebook, under the guise of supporting or increasing awareness.
On the surface they may seem harmless, but they are empty gestures that fall into the category of trivializing the topic. They make games of a serious subject without attaching to any of them a component, at least, of education. The first one in which I participated was for women to update our Facebook status with our bra color. When I did it, I did not think much of it. But as soon as I did, I caught myself wondering how this silliness would promote breast cancer awareness or support.
The other question that came to mind was what about the men, the one percent of the patient population with breast cancer. The game was supposed to be the secret of women. Does not the whole idea of awareness clash with a game that leaves out some of the members of that group and which promotes secretiveness.
The second game involved finishing the statement “I like it” with the location of where you usually put your purse. Seriously. With the purposely misleading posts, it was supposed to confuse the male members of FB into wondering what we were talking about. If you write, “I like it on the living room floor,” the connotation certainly has nothing to do with breast cancer or awareness. Again, this game left out the men with breast cancer and promoted the pre-teen concept of keeping a secret.
Finally, the last game was so inane I was surprised to see anyone participating in it. It just goes to show that when you promote something, anything that is supposed to support breast cancer, it will attract followers. This game involved another formula that suggested you are pregnant by stating, I am x weeks and I’m craving y, with y coming from a list of items corresponding to the days of the month. Mine would have read something like I’m 23 weeks and I’m craving bubble gum. Tell me exactly what this would accomplish other than insult the honored status of pregnancy and confuse your family and friends, especially for those of us past a reasonable age for pregnancy.
Once again, I have never seen the equivalent campaign for any other cancer and find myself very much appalled at this complete trivialization of so-called awareness. If you wish to participate for a reason other than breast cancer, so be it. But I would challenge anyone who receives an invitation to join such a game to decline politely and to return a single fact about breast cancer in the hope of spreading some real awareness.
Daily dose of awareness
Here are definitions that might clear up some misconceptions about breast cancer diagnoses.
- Local breast cancer is confined to the breast tissue. Further, in situ indicates it is contained within the duct or lobe. Invasive indicates it has invaded the surrounding breast tissue.
- Regional breast cancer indicates it has spread to the surrounding tissue outside the breast, including lymph nodes and tissue under the breast.
- Distant metastasis indicates it has spread to other organs outside the breast and breast region; sites of distant metastases include, but are not limited to, bones, lungs, liver and brain.
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© 2004–2011 Donna Peach. All rights reserved.