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Just in time for my annual spring-cleaning ritual, I saw an ad for a pink vacuum cleaner this morning. I literally tossed the magazine I saw it in across the room.

I suppose pink cleaning products are designed to promote consciousness about the breast cancer, but unfortunately, not everyone is truly aware of the wide swath of devastation this disease can leave in its wake.

This past March, four women I'd come to know through a breast cancer survivor message board I frequent lost their battles with this beast. They left children, partners, friends and neighbors behind who now must find a way to get through their daily routines without them. Not one of them was over 50 years old, either. Tragic, for sure, but unfortunately these courageous women are not alone.

Each year, almost 41,000 women die from breast cancer. While great strides have been made in early detection techniques and treatments in the past 10 years, 182,460 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the US this year. Treatments are wonderful – as is helping women find out they have breast cancer while it is still in its earliest, most treatable stages – but where is the cure?

Think about it: if all the pink products that slap an awareness ribbon on their label actually donated a portion of their total proceeds to breast cancer research and development, this disease would have gone the way of the dinosaur by now. But so many of them cap their contributions or give to organizations that have such high administrative overhead that only a tiny amount actually gets funneled to research and development for finding an actual cure, not just more treatment for those of us already stricken.  

Please, before you buy a pink feather duster or toss another container of yogurt or soup with a pink ribbon on it into your shopping cart, read the label to see how much of their donation – if any – will actually benefit women who are battling breast cancer or help ensure that a cure will be found someday soon. It has come too late for Ferne, Joanne, Erin and Kathy, as well as for my mom, Maxine, who died in 1992, but hopefully, someday, a cure for this stinking disease will be found.



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