14 October 2010

Think Pink:This One's for the Boys

Just last week, I was singing praises to the marketing gods who have organized breast cancer awareness efforts.  The campaign has such a strongly established brand identity. The entire country has been on board; even the president is lighting his house pink. 

Websites, posters, and commercials are fraught with photos of smiling women who are making it, who have survived.  The inclusiveness of the movement is obvious.  Most pictures feature a black woman, a fair-skinned woman, an olive-skinned woman.  A mother, daughter, grandmother. A businesswoman, a teacher, a stay-at-home mom. The message is clear. This disease affects women of every ethnicity, age, economic background. 

 Breast cancer does not discriminate--- but does breast cancer awareness?

The efforts focuses primarily on empowering, saving, and educating women. Our lense is zooming right past 1% of the affected population.
Testimony that Man Boobs need saving, too!

What about your father, son, brother?

While the majority of breast cancer patients are women, about 2,000 men in the U.S. are diagnosed with  breast cancer each year. Challengers say the national crusade has allowed men to fall to the wayside.  It could very well be that there are thousands more men who are annually contracting breast cancer, but have not been diagnosed because they are not performing self-exams or cannot identify symptoms.  In fact, one North Carolina man was even sent away when he requested a free mammogram at a local public health clinic.

It is an unusual marketing dilemma.  It is not often that a disease is so socially engendered, unless it is directly related to exclusive reproductive organs, like ovarian and prostate cancers.

Is it enough to target the larger population of diagnosees at the expense of the smaller population?

Are there ways in which we could include male-directed marketing in the existing format?

Or would it be most beneficial to dedicate an entire strategy to raising awarness for male breast cancer?

Wherever the verdict stands, it is important that individuals get educated and take charge in matters of personal health. Take the time today to remind the guys in your life of their risk.  This might even give you an excuse to rub up on your honey's pecs!

Resources on male breast cancer:






  1. Thought provoking...
    Why not save the men too!
    Great post!

  2. I know I have already told you this but, thank you for blogging about this! It means a lot especially knowing someone with male breast cancer.