Why Some Breast Cancer Survivors Reject Pink

Some breast cancer survivors think that the use of pink sugarcoats the realities of the disease and isn’t helping to educate people about breast cancer. (Photo: Getty Images)

Although October is a month known for pumpkin-flavored lattes and Halloween celebrations, it’s also a major month for cancer survivors — specifically, those who’ve gone through breast cancer. However, even though National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was obviously created with good intentions, there’s been a backlash from some cancer sufferers about whether the movement is actually helpful.

According to the Daily Mail, some have begun to hit back at the “saccharine” use of the color pink, as well as the high-profile, celebrity-endorsed events that are commonly used to raise awareness about breast cancer. This includes stars like Elizabeth Hurley wearing pink to highlight the disease and helping to raise money for charities associated with it, while also partnering with brands like Estée Lauder to promote the cause.

Although this is done with the intention of raising awareness and money for a cure, some on social media have been speaking out, saying that the use of pink only sugarcoats the disease. Wendi Dennis, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, is among those who wholeheartedly believe this.

Dennis recently wrote on her anotheronewithcancer blog: “I will explain to anyone who will listen that Pinktober has become stagnant; we need to evolve from mere awareness to education, to full understanding of the even less-than-rah-rah-cheerful facts of breast cancer.”

In an effort to promote her cause, Dennis began the #BreastCancerRealityCheck social media campaign, in which women on Twitter and Instagram share their most inner thoughts about breast cancer, which goes much further than all the pink and glittery products people see in the stores.

In the campaign, images of mastectomy scars have even been posted in order to highlight the reality of breast cancer, while others simply state their daily experiences with the disease. See some of their admissions, below:

@PriceIsRight 40,000 of us will die of breast cancer in US this year. A pink show saves no lives. #whyisthispink #BreastCancerRealityCheck

#BreastCancerRealityCheck We are NOT humourless b*tches - we are dying and not in the mood for a pink party

Panicking every time you’re ill that your cancer is back & wondering how a pink ribbon helps with that #BreastCancerRealityCheck

No matter how you feel about the use of pink to represent breast cancer awareness during October, we can all agree that women like Dennis have a point that awareness simply isn’t enough to combat the disease — education is important as well.

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