Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist
As a Washingtonian, I’m as cynical as they come. Cancer awareness, however, is rarely an issue that causes me to raise an eyebrow. Which is why I was surprised to read that this morning, USA Today announced the results of a Gallup Poll which found Americans have mixed emotions about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The poll found that 1 in 3 adults, and nearly half of U.S. women under 50 think breast cancer awareness overshadows other important awareness issues. This, despite the fact that nearly 80% reported they know someone who has had breast cancer.
In the interest of full disclosure, breast cancer is a cause that’s very near and dear to me. Professionally, I used to work closely with breast cancer patients and on breast cancer awareness initiatives. I have been in rooms full of hundreds of breast cancer survivors and have heard personal accounts of disease, treatment and hope that have stayed with me and likely will for years to come. But breast cancer also has a very personal face to me – my grandmother, whose disease predates me and has been a survivor for decades.
But still, the article makes an interesting point – how aware are we really of breast cancer? While we are certainly aware of breast cancer awareness, especially during October, how aware are we of the disease? Have we forsaken a national dialogue about breast cancer and finding a cure for pink keychains and car magnets?
Despite my innate cynicism, I’d like to think not. Pink gets people talking about breast cancer and thinking about it – even if it’s just a ribbon driving by you on the back of a bumper. I don’t disagree with the sentiment that breast cancer awareness overshadows other awareness campaigns. Instead of condemning the pink tidal wave though, I think the solution should be more awareness for other diseases – more colors of ribbons, more walks and more public attention on the many diseases that warrant our attention as individuals and as a nation. Let National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and pink, be the example, not the scapegoat.
Looking for more causes to get behind? Check out Health Finder’s list of 2011 national health awareness months.