Breast Cancer Awareness Month or Why October Gives me the Dry Heaves

National No Bra Day Breast Cancer Awareness

Support breast cancer? Really?
I’d rather support a cure.
They can’t even make good use of
their marketing dollars in
knowing how to hire
intelligent copywriters.



I said I wouldn’t do it. Wouldn’t post about Breast Cancer Awareness Month because I find Pinktober to be repugnant. I recoil at the merchandising and profiting off the backs of the vulnerable and ill. I wince at photos of smiling, scarfed women in pink T-shirts, walking the pink walk who unknowingly stuff yet more money in the wrong pockets. Worse, I hate seeing photos of Barbie-esque, bare-breasted models who are supposed to represent women who’ve had their bodies maimed and disfigured, and feel medically raped. I deplore the glamorization of cancer, just because it involves — ooh! — breasts.

And please, ladies, keep your bras on. How does flashing your breasts help anybody? If you must, don’t do it in the name of breast cancer awareness. I mean, really? Maybe for prostate cancer, men should walk around without pants or underwear. Flaunt your bouncing balls in August — for prostate cancer! I’m sarcastic, of course, to make a point of how such behavior makes a mockery of those caught in the web of an often deadly disease.I could almost stomach it if I thought the money actually went toward a cure. For the most part, I see marketers who prey on naive consumers by capitalizing on public dismay.

We don’t need more awareness, except perhaps to be aware that, yes, breast cancer still takes too many lives. And we certainly don’t need Pinktober to herald in the Christmas of cancer as retailers profit from the disease. If there’s any awareness that’s needed, it’s that the consumer understands that their pink dollars aren’t necessarily helping those with cancer.

So I made a decision to boycott the month by not even mentioning it on my blog. Not feeding the dragon. Not participating in the love-hate dynamic that is Breast Cancer Awareness Month but rather, to walk away from a dysfunctional, offensive relationship. But you know what? I’m at the mid-month mark and I feel like I’m off the map. I write a breast cancer blog and act as if I’m from another planet where it doesn’t exist. I had to at least address it and let you know my silence does not mean I condone it.

I’m about to turn a corner in my blog where I focus more on wellness, such as my “I Love Life Project,” which I recently mentioned. Knowing me, I’ll still indulge the occasional rant, but I’m focusing more on recovery and healing, which includes transcending the throes of disease.

So many others have already written excellent blog posts that I don’t need to add anything to what’s already been said and said so well. Without further ado, I’ve posted links to some of the blog posts that hit the target. Just a few of my favorites are:

Why is Breast Cancer the Shopping Disease Anyway? by Nancy of Nancy’s Point

National No Bra Day and Breast Cancer Awareness Month… by Cancer in my Thirities. This post has gone viral, and for good reason. She nails it.

Read the last few posts by Kathi of the Accidental Amazon.

What Breast Cancer Awareness Should Mean by Diane.

Scorchy at the Sarcastic Boob simply boycotts it. Yay, Scorchy!

What was I thinking?! Marie at Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer has put together some great roundups of blog posts addressing this month. Check out the last three roundups, or more! Her blog is a wonderful resource. Truly a one-stop shop.

Finally, Telling Knots has hosted various guest posts during the month dedicated to discussing Pinktober issues.

‘Til next time. Now to put my head, well, not in the sand — more like another planet. Being an alien becomes me.


  1. Thank you for mentioning my blog. All but two or three of the guest posts this month are by people who have metastatic breast cancer – which even more invisible during Pinktober than it is the rest of the year.

  2. KT, unfortunately, it’s true that those like yourself with metastatic breast cancer are overlooked. Stage 4 just isn’t pretty in pink. Yet, that is the reality of what cancer is and cancer does. Do you know that a very intelligent man, whose wife went through breast cancer 18 years ago, actually said to me, “No one dies of breast cancer anymore”? This is just one reason why we need more awareness of metastatic b.c. and the need to put our dollars into finding a cure. Sometimes I wonder if one has been found that hasn’t passed the profitability test. I know that’s cynical, but I’m not alone in those thoughts.

  3. Nope. You’re not alone. Thank you.

  4. I hear you about the boycotting idea. I might have to next year, who knows? Sometimes I think we’re really making progress and then…

    I’m glad you decided to speak out. I’m excited to read more about that corner your turning. And many thanks for the link to my post.

  5. dear Eileen,

    yup, there are just some things that cross the line of intellect and sensitivity that just screams, let me at ’em!
    but please know that I understand and support anyone who wishes to opt out of Pinktober – sometimes, the overload is just plain toxic. I am glad you spoke out, but for YOU, not for any other reason. and, as always, you have articulated brilliantly on what resonates so way too loud and clear about where we are with both BC and MBC. I am intrigues about your turning the corner with your blog – just don’t be to stingy with your rants – I happen to LOVE THEM!

    much love and light, XOXOXO


  6. Nancy, it was my pleasure to include your post. You blogged about an aspect of Pinktober that often gets blurred among its many issues, but it really has become the “shopping disease.” Your post is a must-read, in my opinion.

    Karen, yes, the month does put me on overload. It all gets pretty overwhelming, but I found it cathartic to finally break down and blog about it. Guess I needed to get it out. And don’t worry. The rants will still be there on an as-needed basis, just like now. Either way, I promise I won’t turn watered-down and artificially positive. If I’m positive, it’ll be the real deal, just as my blog has always been rooted in honesty.

  7. My favorite part of Pinktober is watching the NFL players in pink. I use this month as an opportunity to remind women to get mammograms. If I want something pink (car magnet, mug etc) I go to the Breast Cancer Site.

    At a recent visit to the site there was a petition regarding Victoria’s Secret. They continue to say that they will not make a “survivor’s bra”. It burns me up. A company that makes its fortune on boobs refusing to devote a tiny bit of time to fitting women for “pretty bras”. Some of the statements from survivors were gut wrenching. They need something pretty to feel like a woman. That remark and others like it sadden me. But, if that is what they need they should be able to get it. VS should be ashamed. I would this situation to get out in the mainstream media. I am working on it. I see the headline now “VS chooses not to help BC survivors”

    I am babbling – sorry – stay healthy everyone.

  8. Ellen, you’re always welcome to say whatever you want on my blog, and that includes “babbling.” I’m so glad you brought this up. Victoria’s secret is out of the bag. It’s a superficial company whose pockets are much bigger than its heart. Let it be known that this wealthy company doesn’t give a damn.

  9. Thank you. I shared this on Facebook & Pinterest on the Pinkwashing Hall of Shame.

  10. Terrific post! I thought you summed the month (and more) up perfectly.
    And thanks so much for including my post in your list of favorite posts. I think they are all great — including Scorchy’s boycott!

  11. p.s. I’m glad that although you are going to be focusing on recovery and healing, you’ll still include a rant here or there for us!!
    You have an important voice, Eileen, and I’m so glad you are sharing it with us!

  12. Thanks, Leisha. I’ll probably rant and rave more than people think. For one thing, it’s fun. For another, my statistics make it abundantly clear my readers prefer it. I understand. Recovery is sooo boring. 🙂

  13. I love your suggestion that men go pantsless to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Makes about as much sense. Great post, Eileen.

    • Thanks, Melissa. Men going pantsless to raise cancer awareness sounds ludicrous, but when women do it, our society eats it up, men and women. Go figure.

  14. Interesting writing style. Thanks for the post, it was quite insightful.

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