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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

My ambition is to be Pink

I know that it sounds a bit strange to want to be pink, even if it is my favourite colour, but I think that it is actually the ultimate ambition of all of us who have metastatic breast cancer to be completely accepted and welcomed as part of the Breast Cancer Community; as represented by the colour Pink.

The problem of being Pink, for me, is that it has come to represent survivorship and, through Pink Washing, the corporate greed of many companies and organisations who see the colour and its associations as a way of making profit whilst enhancing their image.  After all what are the risks for a big company to produce some pink products to sell in return for a small donation for each item sold?  Worst still there are companies which only tell the buyer in the very smallest of writing that there is a limit to the amount they will donate, but not to the number of items they will sell.  I make cards which I sell for £1.  I could pledge to give £100 to a charity and then sell 500 cards and keep the other £400 profit while advertising that I am selling them for charity.  Hmmm.

I want to be pink because I would like to feel accepted into a community which perports to represent all of those with breast cancer ... but it seems to be as long as you don't embarrass them by having metastatic BC which means you are unlikely to be a 'survivor', or worse still you are a male of the species with breast cancer.  If we think that as metavivors we are shunned by the Girls in Pink then what about the Boys in Blue?  You try finding support, information and acceptance into the community when you belong to the 'wrong' gender.  In part this is a problem that is not helped by men who don't want to 'come out' about their cancer; and it seems to also be part of the problem with getting more done for prostate cancer - all a bit embarrassing, don't you know, and real men don't talk about such things.

It may just be the impression that we get from the main BC community, and it may be only a minority who don't feel able to accept us but they are the minority that we seem to encounter when we are told not to say we have mets at a breast cancer 'support' group because we must not upset or scare the majority.  That is the minority that would not speak to someone who went to just such a 'support' group and after saying she had mets no one would talk to her.  She didn't go again - shock!  Possibly we are being over-sensitive because we really don't want to pierce their pink bubble of surviving and life after cancer.  We genuinely do want them to be survivors, we don't want them to join us, but we do want them to accept us and by accepting us to also support us.  Mets are not catching.  They may even see that we have a relatively 'normal' life.  Four and a half years after my mets diagnosis I still work for a living, I can still contribute to society, I am still a living person.  So while I live I still have ambitions, and one of them is to be Pink.


  1. Breast cancer is one of dangerous disease among the women.Your information is really helpful for the women.Thank you for giving such a valuable information.
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  2. This is such a fabulous post - I know exactly what you mean! I have an author that has written a book about breast cancer (who is also a survivor) and was wondering if you wanted to read it or interview her. If you want to see more, please email me at tgleichner(at) The book is 'Breast Cancer! You're Kidding...Right?' by Catherine Doughty.

    Take care!