Think before you pink

Welcome to October. As you probably know, it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

That means you’ll be inundated by things like this

Breast Cancer Awareness Makeup Palette from Sephora

and this:

Tic Tacs for breast cancer awareness

and this:

Corn Chips for The Cure

Women will be racing, biking,  eating, climbing and knitting for  The Cure.

Breast cancer has become so hyper-visible that it’s hard to believe we really need any more awareness. So many of the activities related to breast cancer are just an opportunity for corporations to pay lip service to women’s health.  National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has become just a tired ritual, when women’s magazines trot out their “Five Things You Need to Know about Breast Cancer,” articles and publish yet another “profile in courage” of a woman stricken with the disease who finds that it makes her a better, kinder, more spiritual person.

Every year, about 35,000 American women die from breast cancer. That’s over 100 women a day. Treatment is still limited to “slash, burn and poison,” and we don’t know what causes it.

As I’ve written elsewhere, men tend to set research priorities and be the main clinical researchers. But one of the best known breast cancer researchers is Dr. Susan Love.

This month, Dr. Love has launched a new research initiative dubbed the Health of Women Study (HOW), and she’s asked women’s health bloggers to help her publicize it.  According to the study website:

The majority of women who get breast cancer have none of the known clinical risk factors. This means we don’t know what causes breast cancer or how to prevent it. The HOW Study is a first-of-its-kind international online study for women and men with and without a history of breast cancer.  We will collect information about your health, your job, your diet, and your family history, among other topics that can help us get a better understanding of breast cancer and its potential causes.  Periodically, we will send you questionnaires about anything and everything. All you have to do is fill them out online. It’s that simple. This is a partnership and we need you for the long haul. The more questionnaires you fill out, the more information we will have that can help us have a better understanding of why women get breast cancer.

Anyone over the age of 18 — male or female, with breast cancer or without — can join. There’s no poking, no prodding, no blood samples, no humiliating tests; just some online data collection.

This October, think before you pink .How about joining the study instead? I’ve done it. Will you?

Image credits: TicTacsand Sephora and Frito Lay

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