One in eight U.S. women who live to age 85 will develop some form of breast cancer. In 2011, nearly 300,000 new cases will be diagnosed. Research on prevention, causes and treatments for breast cancer continues, but funding is much harder to find in a recessive economy.
Although most breast cancer occurs in women, more than 2,140 men will be diagnosed with this form of cancer this year. According to breastcancer.org, a man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is 1 in 1,000.
Manufacturers and gadget-makers of all stripes and styles, electronic and otherwise, have for years produced special pink editions of their products. Some of the gadgets are what one might expect: stand and hand mixers, hair dryers, pink AA batteries.
Others are surprising: tool kits for road, garden and home; athletic wear; cell phone cases, tablet covers, iPod nano watches, flash external hard drives. There are pink compact pepper sprays with key cases for self-defense and even mini-globes for watering plants.
On October 2, 2011, the American Cancer Society sponsored its annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Syracuse, NY. Despite a gray and chilly Sunday morning, with pouring rain and puddles of water in the streets, hundreds of people showed up to “make strides” and turn in donations from their sponsors. Some area companies sponsored teams of their employees or even their patrons, like the YMCA East.
Breast cancer telephone-support group Y-ME sells pink-and-white jewelry and clothing at the J.C. Penney store in Shoppingtown Mall. Y-ME provides telephone support to more than 40,000 callers per year, according to their web site (http://www.y-me.org), the only place in the world that anyone touched by breast cancer can call 24/7 to speak to a breast cancer survivor who has “walked in those shoes.” Their toll-free number is 1-800-221-2141.
It’s important to make sure organizations that collect money for breast cancer research actually spend the money for that purpose. “Think Before You Pink,” a project of Breast Cancer Action (http://thinkbeforeyoupink.org), says before you spend your money on gadgets made by manufacturers that say they care about breast cancer, be sure to check on how much of the donation actually goes to breast cancer research. Also check to see if the company sporting the pink ribbon makes products that may actually contribute to cancer risk. “Think Before You Pink” takes to task breast-cancer organizations who affiliate themselves with manufacturers and fast-food chains that produce questionable products.
From auto-repair tool kits to flash drives, pepper spray to hair dryers and ice cream scoops, gadget makers do their part to secure needed funds for cancer research. Hopefully, one day, there will be a cure.