What's the connection between the women's health movement of the 1970s and the pink ribbons of today? Or what's the LACK of connection?
Without women fighting for choice in the 60s and 70s, we wouldn't have become empowered to demand choices in our treatments. The environment that began with a few women learning to examine their own cervix with their own plastic speculum contributed to a culture where women began to be able to speak openly about their breast cancer, without shame.
Women began to demand humane treatment in childbirth -- to have their partners with them while giving birth, to be able to discuss options for labor and make informed choices. To chose to take pain medication, or labor without. To not have an episiotomy if they believed research showed a better, safer way.
And now, we have choices in cancer treatment. We can be informed. We can choose chemo, or no chemo. But how many women are given accurate information about side effects before they make their choice? How many women are told (now that we know) that chemobrain can linger for at least a decade? Do women understand that their sexuality can be obliterated along with the estrogen in their bodies?
Can a woman chose to be unhappy and angry when she has breast cancer, or is that anger squelched on message boards where some believe that without a good attitude, you're doomed? What IS a good attitude? Is it being happy about your cancer and seeing it as a growth opportunity, or is it simply choosing the best treatment you can find, and putting one foot in front of the other?
Is it okay to say that there's nothing pink about breast cancer?