Friday, October 16, 2009

The Debate on Breast Cancer Campaigns

by Deb Kirkland, RN, BSN, MPH
Save Second Base” and “Save the Ta Tas” are common slogans used today in creating breast cancer awareness. Recently, there has been some controversy over the latest public service announcement, “Save the Boobs”* for breast cancer awareness month. One thing everyone would agree on, this video made an impact! If that was the purpose, it was accomplished. Some state it was too provocative and seemed more like a beer commercial. Others agree it served a purpose and created an impact, one that most of us will not forget.

Breast cancer was once considered an older woman’s disease; today we are changing the face of breast cancer, as it is being seen more in younger women. Awareness campaigns have become more creative in attempts of targeting younger audiences. These slogans target younger women, as well as younger men. In breast cancer, due to ineffective diagnostic screening tools in this younger population, breast self awareness (BSA) is the best tool we currently have. In women under 40 diagnosed with breast cancer, 80 percent of these lumps are detected by younger women themselves or by their significant other. While some may find this PSA inappropriate, it can also be taken as creative and targeting young men, making them aware. It is a sensitive topic and if educational statistics are provided in a dry manner, people may not always remember. In a flashy commercial…they do not forget! I personally like “Feel Your Boobies”. The slogans are trendy and catchy, as they are targeting younger women. It may seem more fun wearing one of these slogans, instead of the standard pink ribbon.

If you are participating in the local Komen MD race this Sunday, you can view their local campaign, “Support Your Local Breasts” (where you will see my picture) on their Web site to promote their Race for the Cure.

I think we have come a long way, as traditionally people did not talk about breast cancer. Today it is out of the closet and awareness campaigns are everywhere, from clothes, milk cartons, to golf clubs year round. The key to remember is the message behind all of it.

*Please note the video is only allowed for users 18 and older.

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