Breast Cancer Apartheid
Apartheid – A policy or system of segregation.
The most infamous use of Apartheid was in South Africa where the population was segregated according to race. It was a system that I found baffling when I started to correspond with a girl in Durban when I was about 10. She sent me a rough map of the city with areas labelled as white, black, coloured, Asian. I couldn’t understand what it meant. Of course, as I got older I began to understand what this system was about and that it was about the concept that different groups of people shouldn’t mix.
Apartheid also exists in breast cancer. It wasn’t planned that way, it just evolved as the ‘be positive and everything will be ok’ movement got into power. Their message is about early detection, mammograms, survivorship and life after cancer. It is PINK and it is POSITIVE and it is about PREROGATIVE. Breast Cancer does not belong solely to these groups but they believe that it does. We must not mention metastases or anything they perceive to be negative, they live in the world of ‘Disney Advocacy’ – where there is always a happy ending for the beautiful Princess and her Prince. In breast cancer the Beast remains the Beast even after it has changed its appearance.
The public face of breast cancer is that it is female, easily cured and belongs only to the survivors who run races and wear pink ribbons to show their success. So what happens when you are not female, if it spreads and becomes incurable, and you can no longer run a race (or even walk it) and feel uncomfortable wearing the a pink ribbon? http://breastcancerconsortium.net/assessing-the-pink-ribbon-campaign/ or http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/magazine/our-feel-good-war-on-breast-cancer.html?smid=fb-share&_r=1&
It is time that all those with breast cancer became equal and all receive the vote and are allowed to participate in the democratic movement to find treatments for this disease.