A couple of days ago over on Facebook, I started noticing people's statuses popping up with just one word--something like this: "beige" "polka dot" "white", "black lace" etc. I had no idea what this was all about until I got a message asking me to participate to spread breast cancer awareness by announcing the color of the bra I was wearing and to see how long it would take the men to realize what we wacky women were up to.
The thing spread like a disease (look! awareness already!) and is all over Facebook. Apparently it has also been picked up by major news services. What I'm not clear about is exactly why everyone knowing the color of my underwear spreads breast cancer awareness.
Here's the thing: I'm pretty aware of breast cancer without having to let you know the status of my skivvies. My mother's twin sister died of the disease last year and both my father's two sisters are survivors, although one aunt has the chronic type and will be on chemotherapy, G-d willing for a long time to come. (Which means, by the way, that I need to get tested for the BRCA gene to see just how high-risk I am for getting the disease, because oh yes, I'm in a high risk category anyway because of the radiation I had years ago for that other cancer of mine).
Let's see now, what else? At least three close friends whose mother's faced the disease, with one of them succumbing. Two good friends in their thirties and early forties who are survivors. One survivor friend who produced and directed a short film to make a statement about the disease. One friend seriously considering getting a preventative mastectomy because she says that statistically it's pretty much a sure thing she'll get it. And one blogger-friend who lives with the disease and posts about how she does that almost daily.
These are just women I consider friends. How many more are there that I know of--friends of friends, family of friends, friends of my mother, people in the community that have faced the disease? To many to count.
And I know I'm not alone. Surely all of you have been touched by the disease as well.
Why do we have to be titillating to increase awareness? Wouldn't it be better to use the Facebook status to remind women to get a mammogram? Or to donate to a specific foundation that is engaged in research or is devoted to helping women fighting the disease? And I don't dare imagine what the men will do to increase awareness of prostate cancer.
So no, I won't be telling you about my undergarments. I'll be glad when this thing runs its course.
And by the way, is it time for you or someone you love to have a mammogram?
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