MET UP is a new protest group organized by women who have metastatic breast cancer. If you know me or have been reading this blog for a while, you are aware how strongly I dislike the Pink movement and the national emphasis on early detection of breast cancer=cure. It just ain't necessarily so.
I was delighted to learn about this new organization and would love to find a way to be involved and helpful. Although I personally--as far as I know--am well, I surely am aware that my own breast cancer could return at any time, and none of us have a promise of continuing good health. All of the women whom I have known and do know who have Stage IV/advanced/metastatic breast cancer complain about being isolated from the conversation. No one wants to admit that breast cancer kills 1430 people every day.
Here is MET UP's fact sheet:
Metastatic Breast Cancer killed 524,865 women and men globally in 2012.
That averages out to 1,430 people every day.
Every day. And according to the projections put out for 2015 by the American Cancer Society, the death toll to metastatic breast cancer is expected to increase.
In the last 40 years of "breast cancer awareness", that number has not changed. The mean survival rate of 3 years (starting at time of metastatic diagnosis) has not changed. We have spent almost half a century trying to fund research for a cure, and getting pink merchandise in response. We've tried to make a difference by setting out the honey traps the entire time.
The time for honey is over.
Break out the vinegar. It's our turn now.
I especially like those last lines and agree that it is time for the vinegar. It reminds me of Margaret Mead's wonderful statement: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the
world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Here is more information from MedScape:
Cancer Patients Start Protest Group Like ACT UP
The pink culture of breast cancer is about to get an infusion of red hot.
A small but growing group of women with metastatic breast cancer and their supporters have formed MET UP, an activist group modelled on the confrontational AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and sharing the same inspiration of anger, rebellion, and fellowship/sisterhood.
"MET UP is…committed to direct action for a viable cure for breast cancer. We protest and demonstrate," reads a portion of the group's mission statement, which was recently posted online.
A changing of the guard — and of attitude and tone — is needed in advocacy, suggests the group. "The time for honey is over. Break out the vinegar. It's our turn now," the group states.
MET UP has its eye on some major powers-that-be: the federal government, Komen for the Cure, and sexploitative breast-related charities, said founding member Beth Caldwell, 38, of Seattle, Washington, a married mother of two small children whose initial breast cancer diagnosis was metastatic disease.
"We're very much in our infancy, but we have big plans," she told Medscape Medical News.