Think about the pink

Women in breast cancer awareness ribbon symbol. Vector file layered for easy manipulation and custom coloring.

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Women in breast cancer awareness ribbon symbol. Vector file layered for easy manipulation and custom coloring.

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I can vividly picture my mom handing me a children’s book with the title “Mommy has Cancer”. I gazed at her with the most confused and saddened look i’ve ever given her. I was in 5th grade, about 11 at the time, and had no idea what any of this diagnosis meant for me and my family. Although it felt as if the world was closing in, I wasn’t as alone as I thought.

Breast cancer happens to every 1 in 8 women. More than 200,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed every year in the United States, so my mom was not alone. Breast cancer is one of the most recognized cancers of them all, yet do we really understand why we are all wearing pink in October?

I feel as if the whole message of wearing the color pink is overused. Yes now football players in the NFL have pink gloves on, but are we paying attention as to why? The point of the color was to represent support, but now its turned into a social stigma of something everyone does during the month of October.

My mom was diagnosed in January of 2013, when I was 11 and my sisters were seven and four. Being a healthy forty-year-old, my mom was terrified when her mammogram came up with suspicious spots displayed. Luckily, her doctors caught it early enough where the cancer wasn’t even to stage one yet.

She then went through one surgery to see if the doctors could remove just the cancerous tissue, however, it was unsuccessful. So, being a mother of young girls, my mom made the decision to stick around for as long as she could in our lives. She decided to get a double mastectomy. This decision for her, and for any woman frankly, would be incredibly difficult to follow through with. Doctors are taking a piece of femininity from the person. However, my mom did not think twice when it came to me and my sisters future. She went through surgery, reconstruction, and recovery, and to this day she is still cancer free.

Coincidentally, my mom´s mom had breast cancer as well. There is a gene where breast cancer can be transferred genetically, however, neither my grandma nor my mom carry it. The fact that both of them were diagnosed just proves the chances of getting cancer are very real.

The month of October is dedicated to breast cancer because of the awareness that needs to be spread about it still. Granted, breast cancer is one of the most well known cancers out there, it still needs to be thought of more.

Almost everybody has been affected by cancer in some part of their life. By wearing the pink, people can show that recognition of the disease, I just want to make sure the true meaning is not being put on the back burner. Breast cancer is very common and does affect way too many people for it to not be talked about more.

My mom’s diagnosis taught me a lot about cancer in general: it’s terrifying but it can sometimes be managed. I´m lucky enough where my mom caught her cancer early enough so she didn’t even have to go through chemotherapy. What is incredible to me is what it showed about life in general and how everyone really needs to be conscientious about diseases like cancer.

Everyone should still wear their pink all October, I just hope they remember the true meaning behind the color and leave a note in their head about breast cancer awareness.