It has been quite some time since words on a paper poster have caused me to think so deeply. At first I felt my friend Soyini McPherson had finally lost her marbles. The words “SAVE WOMEN, NOT BREASTS” were boldly emblazoned on the poster she made for the Avon Breast Cancer Awareness march this morning. As I indecisively marched next to her and held one half of the poster I said “Soyini I hope we don’t hear about this tomorrow…”
I’m not sure why exactly I felt that way, but the words on that poster had exposed some sort of embarrassing notion I had long kept hidden in my mind. The procession then passed Jerries on Waterloo Street and all my doubts were laid to rest. The obviously drunk men on the corner of the street made no slurs as they proudly told the procession how they felt about a popular upper body part of the female body. It was at that moment, that I realized how ‘breast-centric’ breast cancer had become (no joke whatsoever).
The fight against breast cancer as my friend rightly pointed out, is not about saving breasts. It is about saving the lives of thousands women who will be diagnosed this year, and the millions that have been diagnosed prior. The important thing to understand here is that for the many women who fight this battle and walk out alive, losing a breast is already a hefty price to pay in order to live a full healthy life, especially in a society where physical attributes are constantly gaining importance. The last thing these women need to think is that they are lesser women simply because they are missing a breast (or both). We need to put an end to breast-centered campaigning and approaches to combating this cancer.
Do encourage the women in your life to get screened early and regularly. Early detection and treatment are critical in combating this cancer.