As many of you may know, October is breast cancer awareness month. Cue the saturation of the world with all things pink for four weeks. But for what purpose? I mean, everyone knows about breast cancer right? It’s the most common cancer in the UK. Around 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their life time. The openness and honestly of celebrities like Kylie Minogue have ensured that breast cancer has appeared on the public’s antennae and stayed there.
I know that breast cancer awareness month provides excellent opportunities for charities to raise awareness about their services, to increase donations, gather support for campaigning work and to reach out to those who may be in need and I fully support that. I can’t help feel however, that sometimes the real, important messages about breast cancer get lost in the plethora of pink and tits. The amount of times I've heard 'well, its not that big a deal now a days is it?' scares me. And breast cancer is often sexualised like no other cancer – I refer to The Sun's Check 'Em Tuesday and the Playboy Club London's #bunniesinpink as examples. I don’t even want to think about the photo of the ‘save second base’ t-shirt I recently saw on Twitter…
So, in the midst of all things pink, I want to provide you with some information and facts about breast cancer, some taken from brilliant websites like Breast Cancer Care and Cancer Research UK but also personal, from the heart stories. I want you to hear from young women who have been personally affected by breast cancer – about the signs they spotted, how they were diagnosed and their treatment. I want to raise awareness that no one is too young to get breast cancer and that every young woman should be vigilant regarding any changes to her body. I want you to hear from the heart what it means to be diagnosed with this disease and the effect that it has on your life. How all of a sudden you are plunged in to a whirlwind of tests, scans, results, hospital appointments and gruelling treatment that leaves you feeling like you no longer recognise yourself anymore and that the person you once were has been lost forever. That breast cancer is not all ribbons, fluffy teddies and pink tea towels.
But I also want you to share in the pride and awe that I feel regarding my wonderful friends from the Younger Breast Cancer Network. Many of these women I have never met in person but yet every day I know they are just a keyboard away, willing to take the time to respond to any fears, concerns or rants despite battling through diagnosis, treatment and the aftermath of breast cancer themselves.
So, during the month of October, as my contribution to breast cancer awareness month, I will be featuring a number of personal stories written by some of these wonderful women on my blog. I hope you find them as bloody fantastic as I do.