Each October, you may notice that pink ribbons are emblazoned all around; this is in line with the International Breast Cancer Awareness month. Pink because it is considered feminine in modern Western countries and it evokes traditional feminine gender roles in general.
What does the Pink ribbon represents? Great question. Before everyone joins the bandwagon, it is always a good idea to be educated on a certain topic so as to better understand and immerse on its essence. The pink ribbon represents fear of breast cancer, hope for the future, and the charitable goodness of people and businesses who publicly support the breast cancer movement. It is intended to evoke solidarity with women who currently have breast cancer. Aside from representing breast cancer awareness, the pink ribbon is also a symbol and a proxy of goodwill towards women experiencing breast cancer. Direct buying, wearing, displaying, or sponsoring pink ribbons express social awareness and moral support for women.
According to the pink ribbon foundation, breast cancer claims the lives of around 12,000 women every year. And the good news is that almost two-thirds of women diagnosed with breast cancer today now survive their disease beyond 20 years. More than survival of physical pain, breast cancer patients and survivors experience psychosocial concerns. As mentioned earlier, pink ribbons represents hope for the future. Hope. Hope that lightens up the unique life of each breast cancer patient and survivor; and of course the family they represent.
The breast cancer experience has several distinct phases, each characterized by a unique set of psychosocial concerns.
Some of the most common psychosocial concerns reported by women with breast cancer include:
Fear of recurrence,
Physical symptoms such as fatigue, trouble sleeping, or pain,
Body image disruption,
Intrusive thoughts about illness/persistent anxiety,
Feelings of vulnerability, and
Existential concerns regarding mortality.
These psychosocial concerns hit women in different levels after having been diagnosed and treated. Not all of them cope and adapt in same manner that is why support system plays a great role in their everyday battle. There are so many ways we can empower them; support that goes beyond financial assistance and material goods. We can empower them through emotional support by showering them the affection, love, acceptance, intimacy, encouragement, and care they need. We may also touch them through informational support, by being educated on matters they undergo and face, or by giving advice, guidance, and medical information. Of course, let us not forget the companionship support we can extend to them that goes as simply as giving them the sense of belongingness.
As of now, effective strategies for enhancing coping are actively being studied by many research groups. So while we can and able, let us all spread out the pink power and raise awareness on breast cancer!
Meeting Psychosocial Needs of Women with Breast Cancer. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK215940/