All the pink gadgets in the world will not end breast cancer. To kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the satirical publication, The Onion, has highlighted the absurd way our society has chosen to fight breast cancer. As The Onion points out, seemingly inescapable product marketing campaigns have become synonymous with Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
Hailing it as a landmark moment in the fight against one of the nation's leading causes of death, a coalition of top breast cancer researchers announced Monday the development of a highly promising new pink consumer item. 'After years of rigorous trials and test marketing, our team can confirm that this breakthrough product is both neon-pink and available for purchase,' said lead researcher Noah Weissman, who added that manufacturing facilities would quickly ramp up production of the revolutionary brightly colored consumer good to 'get it in the hands of as many people as possible.'
It is estimated that 40,000 women and 430 men will die from the disease in 2014 -- that's in the United States alone. Globally, breast cancer will take the lives of 522,000 women.
Mortality has decreased somewhat over the years. In 1987, the year I was diagnosed, nearly 120 women in the U.S. died every day from breast cancer. Today, more than 25 years later, that number is 110. With all of the money and effort that is poured into research and awareness year after year, the continued loss of life is unacceptable. Clearly, we have become complacent in our awareness. The barrage of pink has helped get us to that point.
It is time for a different strategy. The annual explosion of "brightly colored consumer goods" is not cutting it. The National Breast Cancer Coalition set a deadline to know how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. We know that the only way we can truly end this disease is to make sure no one gets it in the first place.
One of the actions we are taking at NBCC to figure out how to prevent breast cancer, is our work with researchers and patient advocates on the Artemis Project for a preventive breast cancer vaccine. That's right, a vaccine for breast cancer. Imagine a world where no one gets breast cancer. No one dies of breast cancer. A vaccine would do the one thing awareness cannot--save the lives of the women and men we love.
Help us save lives. We need women and men like you, who are disruptive innovators for social change, to take meaningful action. Learn more about the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Instead of buying a pink product, make a donation to support NBCC's Artemis Project for a preventive breast cancer vaccine. Then get involved. Sign up for our National Action Network and receive Action Alerts with specific actions that you can take to know how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. Stay connected by following NBCC on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Do it for yourself. Do it for your loved ones. Do it for humanity. Do it.