12 October, 2014

My pink dilemma

I thought I would never come up with an idea for the current cheerfulsketcheschallenge. Not that it's difficult (at least not like last time), but I'm not quite good with multi-layer cards.
I thought I wouldn't come up with anything useful for the craftalnica challenge either. Not that I have a problem with fund raising or anything cancer-related, but it sometimes seems to me that every October, everybody becomes obsessed with breasts. And when people push too much, I retreat.

And in October, people do push. All of sudden, people feel an urge to write something about breast cancer, which of course leads to a flood of semi-informative articles and interviews everywhere - and every time I start reading, I have to stop a couple of times and shake my head because I expect journalists to do some research (their job, that is!) before publishing doubtful or even false information. Don't even think you've done something useful just because you wrote something about breast cancer, no matter how untrue. On the opposite - you create an unnecessary mystery about cancer and confuse people with wrong/contradictory information. And of course, there are the bad, bad doctors and the bad pharmaceutic industry that kills us all. Seriously. Do you really think cancer survival rates in the last 50 years improved because of tea, sunshine and positive thoughts?

If I may provoke a little more, it may even seem sexist or discriminating to talk about "women with breast cancer" all month long - in fact, about 1% of breast cancer patients are male and the lifetime-risk for a man to be diagnosed is about 1 in 1000 according to www.breastcancer.org.

If I may provoke even more, why does breast cancer awareness get so much attention? OK, it is the leading type of cancer in women, affecting about 1 in 8 women. But, there are far more tumours out there, tumours that are much more difficult to discover as they have no screening tests, and only cause symptoms when it's about too late. Tumours that kill you within months, or even weeks after being diagnosed. Why not a little more awareness for those? Because they have nothing to do with boobs?
Even among the most common cancers, many are deadlier than breast cancer: lung, liver, colorectal and stomach cancer take many more lives that breast cancer according to the WHO, and yet I have the feeling they get way less attention.
Lung cancer kills three times more people than breast cancer, why is lung cancer awareness not as present as breast cancer awareness? Why would it be considered unacceptably careless if a woman said "I don't need mammography because it won't happen to me", and on the other hand we don't mind someone saying the same thing while lighting a cigarette?

And why scaring people of cancer anyway?
Fear might be something that makes you see a doctor, but mostly, after reading the usual stuff in the usual media, the thing that crosses my mind is, "I wouldn't want to be a newly diagnosed patient or someone currently fighting cancer, who comes across this depressing bullshit."
Fact is that cancer is the #1 cause of death in developed countries, and #2 in developing countries. At the same time, another fact is that more and more patients SURVIVE.
The drama that some try to create about (breast) cancer by linking it with death is not only useless but also tasteless. How about encouragement, optimism and support? Why write about cancer and say that almost half of the patients die? Why not write that more than half of them survive? Of course it depends on the type of tumour, too, but looking at all cancers, by now overall survival beats mortality. Most patients with breast cancer survive, too, especially in the developed world.

Oh well, it looks like my vicious side has the controls today :)
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a positive, optimistic attitude and whatever will help one facing the fight, but it's good to keep in mind that "awareness" and "fundraising" should not be confused with self-promotion and making profit with things coloured in pink.
I think Dr. Michele Berman sums up my pink dilemma pretty well, and the world-saving video says it all ;) www.celebritydiagnosis.com/2011/11/is-there-pink-ribbon-fatigue

Anyway, here's the card I made tonight. As pink is not really my colour, I preferred light shades and lots of white. A few hearts and roses carry positive thoughts, while the center of the card remains the pink ribbon - symbol of the fight against breast cancer. The wish of the ladies at craftalnica is to give the cards away to Europa Donna Slovenia.
All in all, the card meets criteria for the following challenges:
- cheerfulsketcheschallenge
- craftalnica
- pinkelephantchallenge
- fussyandfancychallenge
- papertakeweekly
- fabnfunkychallenge
- anything goes with a twist
- alphabetchallengeblog

Now off to clean up the pink mess I made while choosing papers, ribbons and details :)
On the side note... Not that I have only bad things to say about cancer-related readings. Not at all. Last year, I came across a fantastic book by Siddharta Mukherjee: The Emperor of All Maladies.  
The Emperor of All Maladies
In fact, it was so capturing that I read it within 2 days nights. Just the right amount of interesting facts and a positive message overall. Absolutely recommendable and worth reading. A big part of the book covers breast cancer, too. And not speaking English should be no excuse - it's also available in Slovene ;)
Kralj vseh bolezni


  1. Zelo je lepa.
    Hvala, ker si se nam pridružila na 118. izzivu CRAFT-alnice. Lp

  2. Geweldig leuke kaart!
    Hartstikke leuk dat je meedoet met onze challenge bij Cheerful Sketches...... Succes!!

  3. I love it!
    Thanks for joining us at Cheerful Sketches!

    Marjoleine (DT)

  4. waow, love your card. :)
    You did make it very good.
    Thank you for joining us at Cheerful sketches.
    Hugs Geesje ( DT)

  5. What a nice card did you make, thanks for joining us at Cheerfull Sketches, lots of succes.....

    groetjes Bea.

  6. Very pretty card.

    Thanks for joining us at Fab'n'Funky.

    Helen x

  7. Zelo mi je všeč :-))
    Hvala, ker se igraš z nami v CRAFT-alnici z roza pentljo ... Srečno!

  8. wow nice card. Thanks for joining Cheerful Sketches!!
    bye Ine

  9. Čudovita je.
    Hvala da si z nami tudi v dobrodelni Craft-alnici. Pozdravček Lili

  10. Beautiful! What a lovely card. Love the roses. Thanks for joining us at Alphabet Challenges.

  11. Me again - thanks for joining us at the Alphabet Challenge too.

    Helen N x