October 8, 2010

The Breast Cancer Conspiracy

Cancer is bad.  I get that.  Each of my parents has survived two distinct kinds of cancer.  My grandmother died of multiple myeloma.  I'm going to say that the genetics aren't exactly in my favor here.  Now none of them were breast cancer, but I surely understand the urge to do something about it.  But this Facebook purse crap?  Uh, no.  Last year it was your bra color, this year it's purses.  We're raising awareness by being obtuse and dropping double entendre?  And what the heck do purses have to do with breast cancer anyway?  Women have purses?  And breasts?

Somehow these Facebook status updates are supposed to titillate and get so much attention that we'll all have our awareness raised about breast cancer.  Great!  But even if it works... so what?  What does awareness do in the face of a huge problem like cancer?  Awareness without action or a response is meaningless.  If we are aware of a great  truth but don't share it we haven't done anyone any favors.  As a doctor, if I'm aware of a problem but don't do anything it's called negligence.  We have vigorous conspiracy theories about politicians supposedly being aware of Pearl Harbor or 9/11 and taking no action.  Is breast cancer a conspiracy?  One where we have all manner of awareness but don't do anything about it?  Talking about it via Facebook statuses is the best we can do?

This purse wannabe-meme is ridiculous to me on another level.  It does nothing, and yet is all about  something that can effect real change.  Inside all those purses that women are innuendoing across Facebook lie wallets.  In those wallets lie money.  In money, there lies research and healthcare.  So I say we turn this silly thing on itself.  How much did that purse cost?  Give that much to cancer research.

I replace plenty of functional gadgets and gizmos with newer versions all the time, so I'm no better.  But I'm guessing that the purse replaced one that was still totally functional but out of style.  If we can afford that, we can afford cancer research for better treatment and more cures.  What if everyone gave to the American Cancer Society or some similar organization what their (or their significant other's) last purse cost?  Then you can update your Facebook status with that instead. Heck, you can be as salacious as you want about it.  "I pay $100 to get it." "I charged my husband $75 for it." Whee! We're having innuendo-laden fun now.  Or you could say what I'm about to, no innuendo required:

I donated $160 to the American Cancer Society's breast cancer efforts today.  How about you?