The success of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign has led to a backlash.
Some cynics have questioned whether some corporate advertisers might not use fundraising efforts tied to the campaign’s famous pink ribbons more to promote their own brands than to contribute to the fight against breast cancer.
The success of Breast Cancer Awareness Month has also produced another, complicated reaction: People affected by other types of cancer feel pressured to make the public aware of the terrible devastation caused by “their” cancer.
Millions of Americans live with cancer. The Atlanta-based American Cancer Society estimates that 14.5 million U.S. residents with a history of cancer were alive on Jan. 1, 2014.
But the society expects to see about 596,000 U.S. men, women and children die of cancer this year alone.
Related: Flipping the awareness paradigm
Many of the people who live with cancer, or who have fought off cancer, still face medical debt, problems with getting life and disability insurance, pain, family problems, and regret about lost opportunities as a result of cancer.
Groups for people affected by many different types of cancer, and some groups that seek to help people affected by all forms of cancer, have tried to learn from the success of the breast cancer awareness pink ribbon and establish awareness ribbon colors for their own groups.
Breast cancer, for example, will probably cause about 29 percent of the new cases of cancer in U.S. women this year, and it will account for about 14 percent of the U.S. women who die from cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Other forms of cancer will lead to 71 percent of the new cases among U.S. women this year and about 86 percent of the cancer-related deaths among U.S. women.