Every year, more than 200,000 women of all ages worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer. However if diagnosed at an early stage, the disease isn’t as life threatening as it would have been otherwise and the patients have a much higher chance of recovery. Researchers in the field of medicine are constantly developing new and improved ways to fight the disease by detecting it earlier and curing it. Breast cancer awareness is a campaign to a create awareness amongst the people regarding this kind of cancer and its consequences by educating them on its symptoms and related treatments.
This kind of cancer has been around for ages, but it was not until recently that women became encouraged enough to feel comfortable talking about it. Since then, breast cancer awareness has become a widespread phenomenon; and pink as a color became associated with it.
Breast cancer awareness merchandise are themed products which are developed and sold to consumers who wish to display their interest and support for breast cancer awareness. The most popular of them are products like pink ribbons and bracelets with slogans. Other ones include apparel like breast cancer awareness shirts, and everyday novelty items like candles, coffee mugs, themed jewelry, etc. These not only fulfill the requirement of consumers and show their support and interest in this kind of awareness, but also let them make a small donation to a breast cancer organization which produced and sold the breast cancer awareness merchandise for fundraising purposes.
Before purchasing them, people should ask themselves about the significance of it. How does purchasing them help the cause? Here are some answers to the question.
Firstly, manufacturers who sell them give a small (but in no way insignificant) portion of the proceeds to charities and institutions supporting this kind of cancer research and awareness campaigns. This is significant in many ways. The campaigns create mass awareness about the disease which can help in its early detection and relatively better cure. Other donations help with research and development of various treatments of cancer. Many charities also provide support to patients before and after the treatment to overcome the stigma and mental depression that commonly follows the diagnosis of disease.
Secondly, the popularity and availability of them helps women to stay alert about the disease. Much of them like breast cancer shirts, as well as gifts etc. urge people to get their screenings done in order to detect any signs of disease. Also, the sheer size of their market will let people know about the seriousness and consequences of the disease. All this helps people to follow the necessary precautions, helping in prevention of disease or early detection and cure of it.
Also, a person’s interest and subsequent purchase of them, even in the form of a status symbol to show their support for the cause, may enlighten more people about the disease. More people feel their responsibility to add to the cause, and this means better donations for researchers to help find the treatment of cancer. A single person’s buying and displaying pink can motivate others to support the cause by buying them too.
There are other questions that one should satisfy themselves with before buying breast cancer awareness merchandises. Many believe that buying and displaying those is enough on their moral part and they need not go any further than that. This is a kind of hypocrisy on the part of consumers. If they support cancer awareness and want people to be prevented and cured of it, they should first screen themselves regularly. You can only create awareness if you’re aware of the disease yourself.
Media hype about breast cancer awareness has led to a certain “glamorization” of the disease. There are all sorts of merchandise like breast cancer shirts, gifts, jewelry, etc. with slogans like “I <3 boobies” or “Caught you staring at my ta-tas” which tend to make the disease sound sexy. Although these slogans are catchy and stick longer in everyone’s memories, they might do so for wrong reasons, which may not be related to cancer awareness at all.
Keep in mind that the universal breast cancer awareness symbol of pink ribbon is not regulated by authorities. Any number of products may bear the symbol of it or pink ribbon, but that may not mean they are effectively fighting this kind of cancer epidemic. Still many products may have the pink ribbon symbol to show that the company supports it, but that may not mean the purchase of a product bearing the symbol itself is directly donating a percentage of its cost to cancer research foundations or breast cancer charities. If you wish to buy a product which displays your support of awareness program as well as makes a small donation on your part to fight the cause, make sure you buy products specifically labeled as breast cancer awareness merchandise or products.
There have been many cases of companies selling products claiming to support it, but also increase the risk of this kind of cancer among consumers. Many cosmetic and perfume brands which actively support it, have been reported to have continued selling products containing chemicals and ingredients linked to causes of cancer. Certain car companies have also got mixed up in the mess and sold automobiles which emit toxic pollutants while claiming to support it. Customers should always, always make sure that the products they have chosen for themselves or loved ones as gifts do not actually put them at increased risks of the disease.
People should always be on the lookout for scams. There are many shady manufacturers and non-existent charities that try to cash in on the good intentions of people who want to support it. To make sure that the money intended for donation towards a cause doesn’t go into pockets of these scammers, customers of breast cancer awareness merchandise should always follow certain precautions.
Companies which support breast cancer awareness by producing breast cancer merchandises hardly ever want to keep it a secret. Therefore, those which genuinely make donations of a part of sales towards a charity would let customers know of it. Almost every business has its own website, and people should check it out for information about exact amount of donation, whether it is capped, and where it is going to make sure they are contributing to the cause.
Many companies also hire telemarketers to call people and urge them to “donate” money over the phone. This obviously costs them money. Donations made to these companies will most probably go to the hired telemarketers instead of a breast cancer research facility or charity. If you’re called for to make such donations, ask the companies’ name and tell them you’ll look it over and then make your decision, or simply tell them that you never make donations over the phone. Other equally bogus companies hire consultants to come up with legitimate sounding names like “XYZ Foundation” or the like to lull the customers into a sense of assurance about their truthfulness. People should beware of these companies too.