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Pinktober Crusade

It's that time of year where businesses bust out their pink ribbons and highlight the good they are doing by adding a pink ribbon to their product, all in the name of breast cancer awareness and research. But, does October actually create change?

Has the pink ribbon raised awareness? I think so. Purchasing a product adorned with a pink ribbon creates a possibility for conversation. Whether you had breast cancer, you are wearing a pink ribbon in honor of someone with breast cancer, or you just like the color pink, you have created a space for someone to be aware and maybe start a dialogue. A study by Cacciamani et al. (2019), shows that internet searches increase during October for the term 'breast cancer'. Ok, that's good. The Pinktober crusade is working enough for people to hop on the computer and do a web search. Does that translate to women taking action, such as obtaining a screening mammogram? There is no evidence to show this is happening. Additionally, I did not find any articles showing an increase in women performing breast self-exams after Pinktober. Raising awareness can be beneficial and that also needs to be followed by action in order for it to have positive effect. With the increase in awareness and the money that is spent on products with the pink ribbons does that flow to people needing the help? Many times, no.

The money spent on the pink ribbon products ultimately does little to further cancer research. To improve treatments, uncover causes, and improve quality of life after cancer, more research is needed. Additionally, cancer is expensive. Many people have a difficult time paying for treatments, tests, or doctor visits. The pink ribbon money does not actually get to a person that is need of financial help nor does it fund lifesaving research. Instead of purchasing a pink ribbon product where little money goes to helping people with cancer, consider a donation to an organization where 100% of the money flows to research, such as Metavivor. Or, offer a ride to someone going to treatment. Perhaps, purchase a gift card to Door Dash so that the person with cancer and her family don't have to think about making dinner for a night.

Awareness doesn't always translate to action yet taking action is what creates the space for change to occur. As humans we are motivated to help those in need. Before buying a pink ribbon product, question "Where is this money going?", "How much of that money actually makes it to those people that need help?", and "What might I do differently to have a bigger impact?". What action are you taking today? I'd love to hear from you! Comment below.


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