In case you missed it, September was Blood Cancer Awareness Month. My Cancer Awareness month. You may not have noticed Blood Cancer Awareness Month, what with all the pink that starts showing up in preparation for October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month early. There’s the pink water bottles at Sports Authority, the pink socks at Target, and the pink everything at the supermarket. I even saw a pink oil truck shortly after school started last month.
The Pinkapalooza tends to spill into our month, which is already like the salad appetizer to the filet mignon main dish: Nice, but not nearly as popular. Our awareness tends to get hijacked by Big Pink, both because breast cancer organizations have more money and also because, let’s face it, breasts are sexy. Blood? Not so much.
What’s more, there’s no preventative screening test for blood cancers to urge people to do, like mammograms or self breast exams. Many of the symptoms for lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma are frequently vague and easily confused for other things:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Itchy skin
Could be lymphoma. Could be a weekend with the flu.
As a result, Blood Cancer Awareness Month doesn’t have the clever bumper stickers and T-shirts that Pink October does:
And instead of pinkifying everything, we’ll redden pink things: And we’ll raise awareness beyond the oil truck and the water bottles, so that people know that someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer every 4 minutes in the U.S., and that blood cancers kill more people each year than breast cancer does. (Source: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society).
Go ahead and Think Pink. It would be nice, however, if sometimes you thought Red Instead.
(Cross posted with ParentingWithCancer.com)