Everything Pink...Maybe It's Time To Rethink

Having breast cancer as a male is challenging enough without having all references to breast cancer recognized in the color pink.

Since my diagnosis 2-1/2 years ago, I have been asked to take part in fundraisers and to raise awareness for breast cancer.  I don’t object to participating in either, however, my struggle is that everything is pink.  In my last post, I shared my experience of having a mammogram in a women’s clinic, which was my first step in being diagnosed with breast cancer, and it was not a very memorable experience.  Taking part in a walk, run, or bike ride to raise money for a cure for breast cancer is always a worthwhile event.  Unfortunately, the shirts and hats that are typically handed out to participants are pink. Also, I’m generally looked at as a guy who is participating because I know a woman that has been affected by breast cancer, rather than as someone who has had breast cancer.

Shortly after completing my breast cancer treatments, I was asked by a friend’s daughter to participate in a fundraiser for breast cancer where I was asked to be a model in a fashion show.  Yes, this may have been an inroad to my passion to create awareness that men also can get breast cancer, but I respectfully declined as I didn’t feel comfortable being a model among mostly women.

Although we know that male breast cancer is found in only 1% of all breast cancer patients, it is my opinion that it is time to have a color and ribbon designated exclusively for men with breast cancer.  This would go a long way in creating awareness that men can and do get breast cancer, which is something few in the general population know.

In Milwaukee, close to where I live, there are several events that occur every summer along the shores of Lake Michigan that are geared toward raising money for a cure for breast cancer.   Hundreds, if not thousands, of people turn out for these events.  Wouldn’t it be beneficial to create awareness for male breast cancer as well?  If men and even women wore shirts of a color other than pink to promote this awareness, it could make a big difference.

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