Breast Cancer Awareness has become overly celebrated at the expense of mental health and other illnesses that are of equal or greater health danger. When October rolls around it is a time to show off pink clothes and go on walks in the name of breast cancer awareness. This sounds like a great way to support a good cause, but it has begun to take more importance than other very dangerous issues going on in America, such as mental health and other types of cancers, such as prostate, which has a similar rate of victims.
There is a terrible statistic that is largely invisible in the public eye: one in every five people in the U.S. has some sort of mental disorder. To trump that, one in every three people with breast cancer develops some sort of mental health disorder. People may not know, understand or take time to look at what someone with this condition has to go through, and that cancer can cause anxiety disorders, depression or adjustment disorders. An adjustment disorder is a mental illness in which individuals have a hard time coping with a life crisis, such as finding out they have cancer. Signs and symptoms of these disorders are the inability to function in everyday activities, or the inability to continue relationships.
There are many stressors to the life of anyone with cancer. Women with breast cancer tend to have mental disorders because they must learn to live without breasts. Life is very difficult with breast cancer, but the public has done a good job of publicizing awareness and making women more open to coming out and talking about what they are dealing with. There is a much larger support system for someone with breast cancer than there is for those with mental health diagnoses. However, there is a chance that this support has gone too far: so far that is has taken over some of the support needed by other kinds of cancer.
Breast cancer awareness may be over-celebrated at the expense of mental health and other serious physical problems, in part due to some of highly visible support from major organizations. It has the NFL’s support, and many walks for awareness full of women and children wearing pink. Prostate cancer has September, the month to wear blue in support of prostate cancer awareness, but not much of the public eye is drawn to that. Part of the reason prostate cancer is not publicized as much as breast cancer is because of the rates depend on sex: Although men can and do get breast cancer, prostate cancer is to them what breast cancer is to women. Men tend to attempt to represent strength and durability, showing no weakness. Dealing with cancer and not allowing one’s self the chance to have support is a dangerous game that could cause a mental illness. More support is needed for prostate cancer.
Breast cancer awareness is not only over-celebrated at the expense of mental health disorders and prostate cancer support, but other types of illness as well. With this being one of the cancers with the best survival rates, there is room to show more awareness and support for others as well. People continue to underestimate the importance of checking for mental disorders in people with and without cancer. Doctors have an opportunity to witness the symptoms and signs, and need to be asking the right questions. The people wearing pink should understand that mental illness and prostate cancer kill as many as breast cancer does, and with far less funding support.
Opinion by Evan Linneman
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