On September 6th, a friend of mine and I participated in the remote edition of the Pink Ribbon Charity Walk Switzerland. Armed with our pink tshirts and our baby daughters, we walked 7km from Cham back until the center of Zug. We made a few stops, enjoyed our coffee, fed the babies, and talked and talked and talked like there was no tomorrow.
On this day, we contributed to the overall 1'371'027 km that got cumulated over Switzerland, with the walk's profits going straight into research and wellbeing of breast cancer patients. The costs also covered the above goodie bag* and a tshirt.
I know, this took place two months ago, but I had kept looking for time to write about it during Pink October, month which is generally dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Time flew, so I thought that I still had a shot at it during Movember - the month dedicate to raise awareness on prostate and testicular cancer and men's mental health and suicide prevention.
Since the Pink Ribbon Walk, I learned that a friend has had a masectomy due to high risks within her family of aggressive breast cancer. Three bloggers (three!) that I have also been following on social media have also been living with breast cancer or recovering (for our French reader, Emilie, aka The Brunette, is sharing her fight against the sickness on her blog, podcast and Instagram account, as she was only diagnosed a few weeks ago).
All are under 40, some have had absolutely no genetic risks associated to cancer.
And it sometimes all started with a lump that was not diagnosed early enough as cancer.
I surely commend how the ongoing campaigns help raise awareness, and especially vocalize the need for women to know their body without taboo and check their breast themselves.
Many tutorials are now available online; we just picked one here as an example and for sharing the way to proceed (and in case you start checking yourself and find something suspect, take an appointment sooner than later).
Talking about breast or testicles is obviously still an issue in public. But breast cancer represents 25% of all cancers in women, and prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. It should not be such a problem to talk boobs and balls openly. We should all be aware of these specific risks, and all get checked when something does not seem normal.
What obviously remains the most bothering in certain campaigns during Pink October is what is often called "pink washing". Pink October is now used as a marketing tool to sell you a washing machine, underwears or any female-labelled products (with their dose of mental-load clichés) at a discounted price, well, because you are a woman. I haven't seen yet any similar campaign covering the over half of the population, maybe moustaches are less sexy to sell**.
In October I had my check-up and was relieved to know that all looks good. I do not have cancer running in my family; but I also know that this does not mean anything and that an early identified lump caught as cancerous has better chances to heal when found and treated early.
So let's talk clear, loud and without fear:
Women: touch your boobs - it might save your life.
Men: go to the doc and get your balls checked - it might save your life.
GO CHECK YOURSELF.
And by all means, take care and stay healthy.
and with the greatest respect to all people in the world battling cancer.
*Regular readers here will surely remember that I am fairly critical over goodie bags, knowing that most items end up in the bin. Special mention to the bright pink Vivi Flor cap advertizing for - quoting the website - our vagina health. Needless to say the cap ended in the give-away bag to the Okihof.
**The Movembaer campaign of the Nussbaumer Bakery is a long-lasting campaign for which 2 CHF per moustached bear are then given to the Swiss cancer league. So do not hesitate and buy yourself some Movembears to support.