Stage IV Ad from Komen – Is this a crack in the pink wall?

September 10, 2012

I was absolutely shocked to see this ad in the October issue of Prevention magazine:

This has to be the first time that Komen has publicly acknowledged Stage IV as part of their marketing campaign. Hopefully, Komen will have more ads about Stage IV in October.

Organizations are slow to change and whether this is partly due to the Komen organizational shakeup or the Metastatic Roundtable Komen hosted last February to seek information from 10 metastatic breast cancer patients, it is a welcome, small step forward and one that many of us would never have anticipated.

The ad, of course, is certainly not perfect, as it seems to imply that Bridget would not be surviving 7 years without her active, hopeful personality or her doctor’s ‘fighting’ for her.  Does that mean that those who died sooner had the wrong medical team or the wrong personal attitude? Certainly not.

Call me crazy, but maybe some day we’ll actually see a Komen ad that says this:

“The true source of HOPE for metastatic disease is research. That’s why we at Komen are dramatically increasing funding for research into the cause of metastases (the spread of cancer) to stop it in its tracks and save the lives of the estimated 155,000 women and men living with metastatic or stage IV breast cancer in the US, as well as the lives of 30% of early stage survivors who will have metastatic recurrences in the future.”

What should be our reaction now? I think we should be open and supportive of the change at Komen. Contact your local Komen organization and let them know you are metastatic (or Stage IV) and appreciate the metastatic support cited in the ads and hope Komen will be increasing funds for research into the causes and process of metastasis.

I know this will be particularly difficult for many of us who have deep feelings of estrangement and resentment toward Komen and the pink ribbon culture. But some within the Komen organization are trying to change things and that needs to be encouraged and supported.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

(Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher)

Ginny Knackmuhs
MBCN Board member