So, I stumble downstairs last night at half-time of the usual American excuse for sport in the fall (large men running into one another) and turn on the TV to get the score. As it turns out, it's half-time and what appears on the screen are many blonde cheerleader-like smiling women shaking pompoms and wearing some sort of costume that includes a particularly gaudy shade of pink. This all makes more sense as the camera pulls back to reveal a replica of a giant pink ribbon being held up by many people on the field and I suddenly knew.
Cancer had finally made it to the American main stream.
First I heard of it in the 60's, cancer was a death sentence. Then it was a tragedy. Then it was the object of a war and then something to be overcome with heroic effort. Now it seems it now has evolved into a marketing opportunity. Congratulations cancer, you've made it to the center of the mercantile American culture.
Now you too can emote along with the women who suffer – for a price. You can buy the pink towel that Tom Brady wore during the game or perhaps a pink chin strap that your favorite Miami player wore as a part of his helmut. For a price. And you will get to feel get that you contributed to wiping out something that you were "made aware of" compliments of the NFL. Or maybe having your awareness raised is enough - but I doubt that this is what the organizers of half-time had in mind. They were after money and awareness is only the royal road to the dollars. Of course, the dollars will bring good things - they always do, but I didn't notice anyone talking about longitudinal studies during half time. This was not about education. It was about bucks.
I guess that those of us with unpopular cancers will just have to hope that some day our cancer becomes popular so that we can have our night on Monday Night football too. Maybe we'll get the commentators to tell their stories of urinary incontinence and how Viagra has worked wonders since the operation. Maybe, but I doubt it. Anyone want to buy a blue jockstrap from the prostate cancer survivor?