The Color Pink: Once A Symbol for Hope Now Represents Apathy and Rust.

As we enter the month mostly known for the cornucopia of pink and messages of manufactured hope, I am reminded of what this country thrives on, as I momentarily reflect on an old George Carlin joke: America loves bullshit. This particular lie, through no fault of their own, fell to the command of one of the biggest and clever manifestations of bullshit ever created, fascinated by Susan G. Komen Foundation. It was a massive lie that relied heavily on the vulnerability of women faced with the eternal struggles and backlash of their ailments.

The great Pink Disguise™ for deceit started in 1982, according to their Wiki page. They masterfully facilitated their journey of chicanery until 2012 when they attempted to pull funding for mammogram referrals provided by Planned Parenthood. Tidbits of information soon followed that was succinct in canvassing where their true loyalties remained. This includes, but not limited to: the 64% pay raise to its CEO generated by donor funds, sponsor affiliations, and their ballsy attempt at litigation when they went after lesser known non-for-profits using the term “for the cure” anywhere in their literature.

The irony is this: after decades of concealing under the buoyant moniker, there is no such thing as a cure. The maleficent form of cancer can be put to rest, i.e. remission, but it can never be truly erased from the darkest depths of the body’s anecdotes. Once upon a time, pink was the color that adorned and embellished my femininity, only to be begrimed and defiled by wicked agendas and monetary cupidity. I am revolted by the sight of pink, and I want to throw shit every time I watch post-season sporting events. With Komen’s true intentions in the back of my mind, it’s like professional sports mocks the disease using pink bats and mitts and scantily dressed cheerleaders.  The fallacy remains: Komen never had the best interest of women at heart. They tricked their victims right into their pocketbooks.

Many years ago, I expressed interest in participating in one of their walks along with a family member. Another family member fell victim to metastasizing breast cancer and we thought this would be a wonderful way to honor her. The dream to memorialize her quickly debunked when we were told by the Komen affiliate that we had to pay up, per person, at the time of registration. It was, to my recollection, over a grand, per person. We were left in an amazing array of befuddlement. We were captivated by the illusion that we were to embark on a remarkable avenue to help find the cure. We decided not to participate. Heartbreak ensued.

Komen’s primary selling point was to raise awareness, a constant that evolved into different variants with time. With its recent and persistent controversies, I can’t help but wonder exactly how many more years……and deaths……will it take before Komen decides the masses are truly aware? Strange, because the maleficent form of cancer has an awareness campaign all on its own, and it’s even customizable to each person afflicted with the disease. Cancer’s own personal awareness campaign could include some (or all) of the following. Women, and men, are aware when:

  • We get our boobs painfully squeezed/get an uncomfortable colonoscopy. Here’s hoping you don’t get a wrong diagnosis.
  • Every time a patient gets a PET scan.
  • Every time a patient gets an infusion.
  • Every time a patient looks in the mirror.
  • Every time you witness a loved one tending to angelic duties as a caretaker.
  • Every birthday. Every holiday. That’s awareness in itself.
  • Every waking moment, particularly those you spend with your children (human and/or animal)
  • When you look into the eyes of your partner.
  • Every time you read something on Facebook that someone is having a “bad day” that’s not illness-related. Those who have been touched by evil cancer in any capacity would probably love to trade places with another person’s version of a “bad day.” Keen awareness…..the kind of awareness that make you realize how petty some people can be.

This is only the beginning of evil cancer’s personalized awareness campaign as I’m sure there are more. There is no need for Komen’s constant “awareness” babble. This goes for any non-for-profit that quickly turns to “awareness” as their idiom.

Education is the key to guard against deception. Firstly, yes, we are born with cells that can turn into the evil cancer cells if given the right ingredients. Second, it is important to note the distinction between the behaved cancer cells and the rogue cells:

1“The abnormal behavior of cancer cells can be catastrophic when it occurs in the body. The problem begins when a single cell in a tissue undergoes transformation, the process that converts a normal cell to a cancer cell. The body’s immune system normally recognizes a transformed cell as an insurgent and destroys it. If the cell evades destruction, it may proliferate and form a tumor within normal tissue. If the abnormal cells remain at the original site, the lump is called a benign tumor. In contrast, a malignant tumor becomes invasive enough to impair the functions of one or more organs. An individual with a with a malignant tumor is said to have cancer.”

This insinuates there is behaved cancer and then there’s rogue cancer. The only way to a cure is to not be born with the cells that could potentially wreak havoc, and that’s just not possible. I believe Komen’s message is to strike out the rogue cancer. When it comes to profit margins, ALL cancer is bad cancer. And it’s a major moneymaker.

Evil (metastasizing) cancer is an irreversible ailment that can be contained for a time. Researchers and organizations alike need to start thinking outside the box for better, and definitely more humane treatments. For a patient to go through the medieval and barbaric forms of treatment is so heartbreaking, the side effects even more afflicting. Chemotherapy, in its barbaric form, was first introduced in the 1940’s using poisons. Of late, this method is still using poisons of a different kind, with only 10% survival rate since its inception.

In ALL that time, NO ONE has come up with better treatment? We have GOT to do better than this. Here are ways to start:

  • Further research is needed on what is causing these cells to go rogue. In the last 10 years, people who have been very close to me fell victim to cancer. Growing up, cancer was a somewhat rare occurrence. Something happened in the last 25 years that is causing the current cancer epidemic, which leads to me the next point,
  • Further research and attention is needed on the chemicals found in processed foods. I’m aware that attention has been brought forward already, but it’s not enough, and I don’t need this information coming from a “wellness guru” that spams innocent victims with information about plant-based diets, pricey essential oils, and vegan products.

The cancer industry is a huge multi-million dollar industry for anyone expressing an interest on preserving the well-being of the afflicted. But what really boils down are actions, not words, and we’re on the brink of making headway with the disease. In recent years and under immense pressure, Komen finally recognized Cancer’s true serial killer that is metastatic disease. So far, there seems to be a bit of progress made with treatments of targeted therapy and immunotherapy, but consider this post as a plea that we need to be just as aggressive as the cancer itself. Of late, there are still disturbing numbers of women (about 40,000/year) who demise from metastasis.

I implore our society, especially the younger generations, to shift our way of thinking that, instead a finding a cure, advocate for more humane treatments that produces a better rate of survival. We need to start treating the afflicted with love, respect, and with dignity, as there is no surefire way how much time they have left on Earth. The afflicted are indeed everyday heroes, and they deserve better than the bombardments of pink filled with false promises. ENOUGH.

1Campbell Reece, Biology 7th Edition – Unit Two: The Cell Cycle, pp. 232-33.

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