It began when I was still receiving treatment and my doctor had just switched me to another chemotherapy drug (typically used for breast cancer patients, but also shown to have success with ovarian cancer patients) to hopefully stop the advancement of the peripheral neuropathy I was experiencing on the original (also primarily indicated for breast cancer). I was laying on the couch recovering from the first dose when a commercial came on the television asking if you or a loved one had breast cancer and had received the drug Taxotere… Wait a minute, I thought to myself, I don’t have breast cancer, BUT I am taking Taxotere. What do *I* do if my hair never grows back? Don’t I count?
Then there’s the ever present and ridiculously well funded Race for the Cure and the Avon 39 fundraising walks. I don’t know if it is because October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month falls on the heels of September’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness month so I can see the stark difference between the two or if there is just so much damn pink being thrown at me this month, but I can’t continue to let this go anymore.
First let me say I love The Ellen Show; I watch it routinely and it is programmed into my DVR in case I can’t catch it live. I love Ellen and everything she does to increase kindness in the world. She made me laugh when I thought at times when I thought I might never laugh again. It just happens that while watching today, the show provided references to some of the things I am really beginning to dislike about the month of October.
Today on Ellen, Shutterfly gave $25,000 to a survivor and her family so they could go on a vacation and Michael Strahan danced so Ulta Beauty donated $20,000 to research. It’s been like this all month, every October for the last 4 years. To be fair, I searched for ‘ovarian cancer‘ on her site to make sure I hadn’t missed something similar last month for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately there were only results for breast cancer. It isn’t just on Ellen either, yesterday’s audience on Let’s Make a Deal was full of breast cancer survivors and their caregivers. Everyone went home with Dune Jewelry custom Breast Cancer Awareness jewelry. On October 2, The Price is Right had a breast cancer themed episode too. No doubt there are more, but you get the idea.
Ford Motor Company has their Warriors in Pink which has donated $133 million since 1993. Pampered Chef has their Help Whip Cancer products that have contributed $12 million to to aid the American Cancer Society®’s fight against breast cancer. The Esteé Lauder Companies have Pink Ribbon Products through their Breast Cancer Campaign. The Breast Cancer Campaign has raised more than $70 million to support global research, education and medical services, with more than $56 million funding 225 Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF) medical research grants worldwide. The list goes on and seems to get longer with every passing year.
How many commercials have you seen about #ovariancancer? How many television shows have you seen raising awareness OR donating thousands of dollars to ovarian cancer research AND thousands in prizes to #ovariancancersurvivors? How many major companies have teal themed products for sale to help fund ovarian cancer research?
My guess is none.
I’m blessed with a 92% chance of living 5+ years after treatment because mine was caught ridiculously early at Stage 1 when my ADHD doctor became concerned about my blood pressure (same stage breast cancer? 98.5%), but ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer and the majority of women aren’t diagnosed until Stage 3. Their chance of survivng 5+ years drops to 39%… Stage 4? 17%(same stage breast cancer? 25%).
This needs to change.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Pink Sisters and I am grateful for the advancements in treatment that have also been found to be beneficial to ovarian cancer patients, but it’s past time the big movers and shakers with the deep pockets realize that not all women’s cancers are pink. #notallcancerispink
There is not a screening test or vaccine available for ovarian cancer so the best hope we have right now is early detection. The only way to achieve that is to increase awareness and many of my ovarian cancer survivor sisters are too busy fighting to live to push for a change so you’re stuck with me. I’m a loud mouth and can only hope I am up for the task. I’d better be because I really can’t handle constantly hearing “oh yeah, my mom died of ovarian cancer” whenever someone hears my diagnosis.
Don’t worry, I’ve got this