There’s a lot of talk about breast cancer awareness – the need for awareness, the desire to raise awareness, the use of pink ribbons or bracelets or t-shirts to symbolize awareness. The awareness mantra works for generating interest in the cause of breast cancer, creating fanfare, selling products, and maintaining the message that breast cancer is important. Is that really awareness?
Awareness refers to “consciousness,” “conscious knowledge,” or “mindfulness.”
With this definition in mind, the Breast Cancer Consortium’s Beyond Awareness Campaign addresses common trends and identifies what is missing from mainstream awareness, such as:
- realities of the disease
- diverse experiences of the diagnosed
- evidence-based information and balanced health news
- how to tell myths from facts
- how to read the fine print of pink-ribboned products and sponsoring/partnering corporations
- how conflicts of interest may influence the marketing and decision-making of breast cancer programs
- how to evaluate organizations when making decisions about charitable giving
- how to find out how much money is raised and spent in the name of breast cancer
- how to evaluate what is needed to impact the breast cancer epidemic
- how to think about the big picture when it comes to breast cancer (What’s at stake, and for whom? What would it take to stop cancer before it starts? What kinds of “actions” would really make a difference in stopping the epidemic?)
To make progress in breast cancer, we need to go BEYOND AWARENESS.
The online Beyond Awareness Workbook includes: 1) basic background to pink ribbon culture, 2) key trends in mainstream breast cancer awareness activities, (including what is largely missing from these campaigns), and 3) tools for action that enable those concerned about the current state of breast cancer to learn more about it and to take an active role in promoting social change.
The Breast Cancer Consortium is also developing a series of themed booklets (in color) for our Beyond Awareness campaign. The first 20-page booklet, titled “Beyond Awareness,” offers a brief history of the pink ribbon and the rise of national breast cancer awareness month, the development of a commercially focused breast cancer industry and survivorship culture, and key trends in awareness campaigns.