It would seem that breast cancer is more important than any other type of cancer. Though breast cancer was fourth in both number of new cases and deaths in 2010*, its month of awareness trumps all others. Does anyone even know that Prostate Cancer Awareness month is September? As in last month, the month before October, the month before Breast Cancer Awareness month? It seems one cannot escape Breast Cancer Awareness this month as it is blaring from the television, viral campaigns nearly reach the level of spam, pink ribbons are plastered all over restaurants and retail shops, even professional football players are sporting pink. The sheer volume of business that jump on the pink band wagon is astronomical.
It was not until writing this article that I was even aware which month (if any) had been assigned to prostate cancer and while the gender stereotypical color blue has been deemed the color of prostate cancer, not many are aware of it. And certainly the television, professional athletes and local retail establishments were not sporting any sort of Prostate Cancer Awareness paraphernalia last month. Yet prostate cancer rates are close to, and in some years surpass, breast cancer rates in number of new cases and deaths each year.
So why is breast cancer more important than prostate cancer? Simple. Breasts are sexy (particularly to the white male hetro demographic that rules consumerism as the ‘norm’). Its a little exciting to encourage a woman to feel up her breasts each month in order to make sure she is to ‘healthy’. Prostate cancer on the other hand is anything but sexy. Checking for prostate cancer wafts hints of homosexuality as a doctor (presumably male) gently probes a man’s anus. Presented in such a way, I don’t think prostate cancer would appear sexy to anyone–but thats the point–cancer is not supposed to be sexy. Cancer awareness should not illicit any sort sexual connotations what-so-ever!!!
Yet, somehow, just like everything else, breast cancer gets enormous attention because its sexy. Between the ”I Love Bobbies” bracelets and the “save the ta-tas” campaign and the sexually charged Facebook Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns, not to mention the beautiful models that traverse the landscape of breast cancer awareness visual representation, breast cancer seems to be about nothing but sexy breasts–and who doesn’t want to support that?
Resources: The American Cancer Society
*Depending on how sites of cancer are organized (ie by body part or system) breast cancer was either second (by body part only) or fourth (by system of the body) in 2010 in both number of new cases and number of deaths.
Kimberly is a law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. When not studying or writing, she can be found devouring video games and books. She is commonly caught muttering under her breath a critique of the consumeristic mechanism that constantly insists on bombarding her personal space.