It’s getting near October again and so the Facebook Breast Cancer Awareness games are afoot.  I’ve written before how I feel about awareness things.  Many companies make money off Breast Cancer Awareness by slapping a Pink Ribbon on their product while actually donating very little to the search for a cure.  Yes. A Cure.  There isn’t one, by the way.

But I digress.

So here’s Breast Cancer in a nutshell.

1.You’re diagnosed.  You’re scared.  You have disfiguring surgery.  This makes you somewhat sensitive about your own body.

2.You have chemo.  It makes you sick.  It creates lasting issues with your reproductive system.  For many women, getting pregnant post-cancer treatment is impossible or ill-advised.

So here’s where I’m going with this.  The last two Facebook Awareness games have been somewhat distressing for many of my cancer friends.  When we were asked to post our bra strap last year, we didn’t know what to put.  Many of us could no longer wear them.  Back to issue #1.  Now this year, the game makes it look like you are pregnant.  Enter issue #2.  Part of my grieving process post treatment was the realization that I shouldn’t have any more children.  So grateful for the ones I have, but I wanted to make that decision.  I really hate being told I can’t do something.

Also, an awareness game where you’re not allowed to tell anybody about it except by message isn’t really awareness, is it?  And finally, awareness only goes so far.  It doesn’t lead us to a cure.  Does it make women go get mammograms?  Maybe.  That would be good.

I think if you ask most women who have had cancer, it’s not a fun game for us.  It’s sort of like parading in front of us  the things that we no longer have in the name of awareness. And to add insult to injury, many of my friends who have spoken up have been accused as “not having a sense of humor” or “spoiling the fun”.

I’m sure who ever started it had the best of intentions.   But there’s no real information.  1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the course of their lifetime.  Also, men can get breast cancer.  And although the mortality rate for women in general is declining, that doesn’t actually apply to younger women with breast cancer.  Our stats have basically stayed the same.  Breast Cancer in young women tends to be more aggressive.  And the number of young women diagnosed is increasing.  Prevention is awesome but it’s not a cure.  And for those of us that have been through it, or live with it, we’d like to see a viral Facebook game that truly makes a difference.  Donate time.  Donate money.  One of my friends is putting together something for the month of October that will do those things and I will be posting it on Facebook.

I am asking you to help make THAT go viral.

Or at the very least, when you receive a Facebook Awareness Game, add some of the statistics.  Encourage women to know their bodies so if there is a change, they know to go get it checked.   Here are some links to get you going:

U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics

Breast Cancer in Young Women  Lastly, please know that if you did forward a game to me, I do know it was because you care. And I appreciate it! I just think we can make it better!

Edited to add:

The 31 day project is up and running!  Check it out!