It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Back in the day, my role as a Human Resources lackey was to drape the office in pink to promote breast cancer awareness. I handed out pink ribbons, pamphlets, and lapel pins. I hung pink bows on cubicles and office doors.
I don’t mind a little color in the office, but it is not my role to advocate breast health. I am the daughter-in-law of a breast cancer survivor, and I will happily advertise and explain a health care plan with MRI and cancer screenings; however, handing out breast-self-exam screening pamphlets is a little too much for me. I’m not an expert on breast cancer — I just work in Human Resources.
The screening pamphlets really bother me. The goal of cancer prevention is to catch the disease in its earliest form. BSEs are important, but if you examine the research, they are less effective at catching early forms of breast cancer than mammography and MRIs.
Furthermore, why should I educate you about breast cancer and not testicular cancer? Why not lung cancer? Why not skin cancer? Which month is STAY THE HELL OUT OF THE TANNING BOOTH, YOU FOOL month? Why should I go a step further and start educating you on what foods you should eat? Should I counsel you on lifestyle choices so you can lower your risk of developing cancer?
Breast cancer can be a horrible illness — and it impacts so many of our families. Personally, I would like more than a pamphlet from my HR Representative. If you’re going to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month in your office, I suggest that you bring in health care providers and representatives from your benefit plans to talk about research, wellness, and benefit levels provided to your employees if they are screened for and/or diagnosed with breast cancer.