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Pink envy: Is it fair that breast cancer gets so much attention when other forms of cancer don't?

TNS Regional News • Oct 26, 2013 at 8:07 AM

Two things off the bat:

I know breast cancer is a potentially deadly disease affecting millions worldwide.

I recognize the strength of the women and men courageously battling that cancer.

That said, the outpouring of attention breast cancer receives in October leaves me a little jealous.

It is not that I don’t think breast cancer awareness doesn’t deserve the attention.

I’m simply wondering where the love is for those battling other forms of cancer.

There is an awareness month for dozens of other cancers, but few know the color of those ribbons: white for lung cancer, purple for pancreatic cancers and dark blue for colon cancer, the affliction that killed my grandmother in 2011 and my best friend’s mom a year or so prior.

I helped write both of their obituaries.

In October, the pink ribbon for breast cancer has become as commonplace as leaves in a lawn in the fall.

Pink is everywhere from the tops of medicine bottles to the pom-poms NFL cheerleaders carry.

I am not the only one who has noticed the lack of attention given to other forms of cancer.

A Facebook status I posted recently on the topic generated several comments.

“It (ticks) me off that breast cancer gets so much attention,” said one Facebook friend who is a three-year breast cancer survivor.

Others wonder if breasts are simply sexier and easier to market than other parts of the body.

“I’m sure they can think of some interesting campaign concepts around prostate cancer,” one friend wrote.

Nikki Williams, an American Cancer Society spokeswoman based in Cincinnati, said there is a good reason breast cancer gets so much attention. She said her organization, the sponsor of the recent Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Dayton, targets breast cancer because it makes sense to do so.

Ending the most suffering is part of the organization’s goal, she said.

“It is the second leading cause of death in women,” Williams said. “When October comes, (awareness month participants) are fighting for their mothers. They are fighting for their sisters.”

Williams said the American Cancer Society also heavily supports those with other forms of cancer. It targets breast and lung cancers because they impact the most people, she said.

“If you are trying to fight a battle and win a war, you are going to try to get the big guys first,” she said.

The stats back up the fight against breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States behind prostate cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Thee agency predicts there will be about 232,000 new cases of breast cancer this year with 40,000 deaths. It estimates there will be 228,190 new lung cancer diagnoises with deaths 159,480.

Lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths, is the third most common cancer.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death followed by breast, pancreatic and prostate.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization. It accounted for 7.6 million deaths in 2008 with lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer cause the most deaths.

The fight against cancer is a tough one, to say the least.

While the stats clearly support much of the attention breast cancer awareness receives, it would be nice if other top cancers were on America’s radar for treatment, research and prevention.


By Amelia Robinson - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

Visit the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) at www.daytondailynews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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