October marks the arrival of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time dedicated to increasing the public's understanding of this awful disease and commemorating those who have fought its hard battle. Every year, as the leaves begin to change colors, we also see those pink ribbons start to pop up everywhere. It’s a beautiful thing to see people come together in support of this amazing idea – ending breast cancer once and for all
It might be hard for some people to see, then, why I have a couple problems with this whole concept. Now, before I go into detail, I am all for supporting those with breast cancer (or those who have had it) and fighting to find a cure. My only issue – why single out breast cancer?
Yes, breast cancer affects thousands of people (directly and indirectly) and yes, it is important to get that message out there. But pause and think – just how many types of cancer are there? Too many for each of them to have their own month of the year. Lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, skin cancer, you name it; odds are, someone in the world is affected by it. Actually, make that thousands, millions even. My main question is, why aren’t all of these different types of cancer being brought into the spotlight? Instead of just raising awareness of one specific type, why can’t we raise awareness for cancer as a whole? As someone who has seen different family members battle both breast cancer and other kinds of cancer, I can easily say that all are equally devastating for the people involved.
I am not saying that we should take away Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Raising awareness for this awful type of cancer does nothing but good. Instead, we should expand this idea beyond what it is right now. We need to take time to raise awareness for all cancer. Remember that there are several different types of cancer that affect an insurmountable amount of people – and all of them need our help. If we bring awareness not just to one type of cancer but to cancer as a whole, we will be able to care for and support more people than we ever have before.