October, or “Pinktober” as it is derisively called by more than a few people, is widely known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
It’s been commercialized and marketed in various shades of pink. Those who have minimal understanding of cancer as not just a set of diseases but as a healthcare marketing phenomenon easily fall into this trap.
Instead we should be insisting on better care for everyone before, during, and in the best case scenario, after cancer.
It’s important that we focus on the PEOPLE with cancer less than the disease they have.
It’s important that we continue our efforts in research and development of new treatments, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that these are people who should be benefitting from our work. Even the most isolated research staff, sequestered away in some cold university lab behind heavy doors and surrounded by bare white walls need to remember this. This is for PEOPLE, not patients.
Clinicians who interact with people in their offices during and after treatment need to remember this. PEOPLE, not patients.
Look at the person across from you as a living, breathing, warm, functioning human being and not a cold, clinical, paper gown-clad plastic mannequin. Talk with them. Relate with them. You have much in common with them.
The whole point of all the work, fundraising, support networks, research, healthcare facilities, clinical training, academic pursuits, and community events around cancer is PEOPLE. Improving their lives, regardless of stage, prognosis, ability. Cancer is only a part of who they are.
Let me repeat, PEOPLE.
A simple word, but we all understand what it means, no need to be highly educated or technologically skilled.
Please remember that they exist twelve months out of the year, not just in October.