The results of a recent USA Today/Gallop Poll show that overall, Americans feel that October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been successful in making people aware of the disease, and the majority still want to help contribute to the cause by buying pink products meant to help support research.
I think this says a lot for our country, that we’re all so willing to help eradicate pain and suffering. Most of us have been touched by breast cancer in some way, after all. But are all those pink products really helping us make progress on this disease?
Watch Where Your Money is Going
What I want to remind everyone of is to be careful where you put your hard-earned money. Companies may say that they’re donating a certain percentage of each purchase, but many actually stop after a certain amount, say $10,000. When they reach their quota they seldom tell consumers, who continue to buy thinking their money is going toward a good cause.
Another question many people are asking is-are all these events and campaigns really getting us anywhere? It’s true that we’ve seen advances in care for breast cancer, including new drugs, digital mammography, and the discovery of genetic markers for the disease. But when companies spend thousands on walks, races, rallies, marketing campaigns, and more, how much good does that actually do research?
The unfortunate truth is that for some businesses, October Breast Cancer Awareness month is just another way to make money. “There’s a lot of deception that goes on with breast cancer groups,” said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy.
An Unbalanced Approach to Disease
Some people also feel that with so much attention paid to pink profits, other diseases get shortchanged. Pinkwashing and pink ribbons have taken over in many ways, and it seems as if people aren’t paying as much attention to other serious diseases like cardiovascular disease, the number-one killer in this nation.
The best approach to really make sure your dollars are going to breast cancer research is to follow these tips:
- If you want to make a pink purchase, find out where the money is going, and be sure you’re buying from a reputable business.
- Better yet, go to websites like the Breast Cancer.org or the American Cancer Society and make a direct donation.
- Volunteer at your local breast cancer organization.
In this economy, donation dollars are scarce and you want to know that if you’re choosing to donate X amount of money, it’s going where you want it to go.
Of course, I also need to remind everyone-if you’re buying pink personal care products, check the ingredient list. Many of these products that claim to support breast cancer actually contain potentially carcinogenic ingredients. It doesn’t make sense. We must educate ourselves in a world where everyone is competing for our dollars, especially where a pink ribbon is used to get our attention.
What do you think of October pinkwashing? How will you use your donation dollars?
Lea Goldman, “The Big Business of Breast Cancer,” Marie Claire September 14, 2011. http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/news/breast-cancer-business-scams-3
Photo courtesy Milton Leite via Flickr.com.