As October draws to a close, you may be a little tired of seeing pink Breast Cancer Awareness-themed merchandise or events all over the place. Many critics of breast cancer awareness efforts argue that these campaigns view breast cancer through rose-colored glasses or that retailers take advantage of this feel-good cause to increase sales.
First, the good news is that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from breast cancer have declined 35% from 1990 to 2011. At the same time, the number of nonprofits devoted to fighting breast cancer has grown exponentially, from a mere handful in 1989 to over 200 in 2011; these organizations are responsible for raising over $550 million in total revenue each year.
These numbers are promising, but there’s still more to be done. According to the World Health Organization, women still get breast cancer for more often than any other form of cancer, with 16.8 million cases diagnosed in 2012. And in the United States, breast cancer cases are actually increasing: diagnoses are projected to increase to 232,670 this year, up from 192,370 in 2009, according to the American Cancer Society.
As long as women are still being diagnosed and dying from breast cancer, there’s still work for us to do. Nonprofit organizations can utilize the foundation and audience that breast cancer awareness has built up to plan meaningful, engaging campaigns for their constituents, and together, we can stamp out breast cancer.