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September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September 1, 2011

Are you aware that September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month? If you say “no,” I won’t be shocked.

I learned about Prostate Cancer Awareness Month just a couple months ago. I was exploring the Prostate Cancer Foundation website for the first time, and I found out about Blue September after clicking a few links. Wait. Back that up a bit. I learned about it on my own. Prostate cancer has been a presence in my life for a decade, and I found out about Blue September mere months ago.

I decided to conduct a brief survey. I asked a few people I know whose lives have been affected by prostate cancer whether they knew about Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The results:

  • Mom: Didn’t know. I also sincerely doubt my dad knew about it.
  • A brother: Didn’t know.
  • A friend whose father has prostate cancer: Didn’t know.
  • My uncle and aunt: Didn’t know.

Houston, we have a problem!

This is nucking futz. People who have compelling reasons to be vocal advocates for prostate cancer awareness don’t know about Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. But, and here’s the key question, why didn’t these other people and I know about Blue September?

Dan Zenka is the blogger behind My New York Minute. He’s the vice president of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and he started his blog when he had his own diagnosis last year. Here’s a video from him about this year’s Blue September:

So, clearly, people are working hard and taking huge steps to get the word out…and it’s still not always reaching all the ears that need to hear.

Going back to the video, did you catch that little fact? One in six men is diagnosed with prostate cancer.

WHERE THE DEVIL ARE THOSE BLUE RIBBONS?

It’s hard for me to go a day without seeing a pink ribbon. Car stickers, license plates, web buttons — pink ribbons are everywhere all year. A pink ribbon pin is sitting untouched and undisturbed on a filing cabinet at work, and I pass it regularly. I’ve lost track of how long it’s been there, skirted by the janitors who dust the cabinets. Meanwhile, the blue ribbons, well, I just don’t see them. In Mr. Zenka’s blog post from a couple months ago, he highlights one of his reader’s frustrations with the lack of blue support: About that Blue Thing.

The main Breast Cancer Awareness Facebook page has 2.46 million Likes. The largest Prostate Cancer Awareness page has just 3.8k Likes and several unattractive anatomical pictures at the top of its page. *headdesk* The Prostate Cancer Foundation page is doing better at 12k Likes and a pleasant lack of medical imagery.

Why is there such a disparity between the pink and the blue? I have conjectures, but of course it’s impossible to say because there isn’t any one reason. A lot of factors are involved.

One of the possible reasons, as I see it, is that whereas breasts are aesthetically pleasing, prostates are…not so much. If someone shouts “Save the boobies!” other people are naturally inclined to stand up and cheer. If someone shouts “Save the prostates!” others are inclined to back away carefully. It’s time to get over that squeamishness and way past time for what was done for the pink to happen again for the blue. And no, this isn’t about competition. It’s not pink versus blue. It’s humans against that SOB cancer.

How I’m taking action: I’ve turned my Facebook profile picture to the blue ribbon for this month; I’m going to bring up prostate cancer out of the blue (haha, see what I did there?) with unsuspecting people; I’m going to tweet about it; and I’m going to add some more blue ribbons to my life. If I’m really fortunate, some of the people I talk to will pass the word.

I can tell you one thing: That pink ribbon pin on the filing cabinet at my work? I’ll be giving it a new, true-blue friend. They’re meant to be together. Expect an update with a picture later on.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2011 8:46 pm

    Well done Virginia 🙂

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