I knew almost immediately after mom was diagnosed that I wanted to do more to raise awareness for gynecological cancers. So much has been done in recent years to bring breast cancer to the forefront and I wanted to do the same for this. But where to start? I thought I’d at least look for what the ribbon colour would be to represent gynecological cancer. That should be simple enough, shouldn’t it? A google search resulted in finding that it is teal…or lavender…or purple….or specific to uterine cancer, orange. What? Which is it? Predominantly, it seems that more sites suggest the colour that represents gynecological cancers is teal. The fact that there was such confusion over something as simple as the colour of the ribbon used to represent these forms of cancer just illustrates how minimal our awareness is! There is NO question when it comes to breast cancer. Little for even colorectal cancer as that’s been much more advertised as well. There has been so much focus has been placed on breast cancer and while it is very important, so are the cancers that afflict the female reproductive system. While breast cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian women, gynecological cancers can be very insidious often being called “the silent killer.” Often women don’t even know there’s a problem until it’s too late.
Frustratingly, as I researched statistics about women’s reproductive cancers, I learned that uterine cancer isn’t even mentioned on many sites. I found that the Canadian Cancer Society promotes October as “Women’s Cancer Awareness month!” Hallelujah! However, I was deeply disappointed to see that uterine and ovarian cancers were not even mentioned in the information on that page! The truth is, information is scarce on these subjects in comparison to many other forms of cancer. It’s one of those things we don’t talk about….it remains unsaid. It shouldn’t. We need to talk about it. We need to research it. We need to know more. So that brings me back to the ribbon. What colour is it anyway? Since it seems more sites indicate it is teal, I’m going with that. I’ve even found a site that sells t-shirts and other paraphernalia in support of gynecological cancers and they say it’s teal, so who am I to argue?
A blog I follow called “takebackteal” ( http://wp.me/p2O04L-6P ) is doing it’s part to raise awareness for ovarian cancer (whose ribbon colour is also teal). A fun means to raise awareness that they have initiated is called “Turn it Teal Tuesdays,” in which participants wear teal in support of ovarian cancer. Bravo. What else can we do? It seems like such a gigantic undertaking for one little voice in the void. How did the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation make awareness of this form of cancer a household phenomenon? How did they get to the point they are at now? You can even find toilet tissue that’s pink for the cause, which, in my opinion…considering where it’s used….blue (colon cancer) and teal (gynecological cancers) would be better choices anyway. At least from a logical standpoint. For now, making people aware of the ribbon colour is a very small start. But I need more ideas…..
Please don’t misperceive my mission. I don’t want to detract from the work going into Breast Cancer research and treatment. I merely believe there’s room for more to be done to promote research, awareness and treatment of the other cancers that are specific to women’s bodies. Now, I just need to figure out where to start. At least I have a ribbon colour……