October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month y'all! As usual, everywhere we go during this month are stocked with pink stuff that promises donations to breast cancer research. Since I am a scientist in training, a beauty blogger, and a female species rolling in one, I think I have some knowledge in this subject. And don't be surprised if my opinions are different than yours, we're unique that way :)
Image courtesy of Andrea's Myspace

First of all, we need to support this cause because the statistics is not pretty: one out of eight women in the United States are having breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 178,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer would be diagnosed in the United States in 2007. On top of that, an estimated 62,020 in situ breast cancer cases would be reported as well. Among these patients, 40,460 of them would be estimated to die from breast cancer. The numbers, as scary as they sound, are actually decreased from the earlier report in 2005 partly because of better methods of detection and treatment. Breast cancer is currently the number two cause of death by cancer in women, the number one spot is lung cancer and number three cause is ovarian cancer.

As much as I do not want to gloom you on a very nice Monday, I have to put words out because this is an important issue that needs attention. It would be much easier for me to just write about makeup or put some cheesy photos of myself online but this blog is more than that. That's why we have the "and beyond" in the tag line, "make up, skincare, and beyond". As a scientist in training, I have experienced how difficult it is to obtain research grants that provide money to conduct research and experiments. Moreover, the state of economy and the way budget is handled in this nation put funding for research and education in the second tier. Most of the money, as we all knows, goes to military defense and as long as your research has something to do with the Department of Defense, good luck getting it, especially when you are a starter. So with all that said, we as scientists need private funding very very much and the money you donate will benefit the future. I know the cure for cancer is what we're all looking for and inch by inch, we are looking closer to it.

This month, as I mentioned earlier, signals the sales of pink items from yogurt to makeup to vacuum cleaners. Everywhere you go, you see signs of items made especially for the cause with promises to donate to organizations that funds breast cancer or cancer research. I know the pink packages are so gorgeous and you want to do some good while getting goods for yourself but it is worth it? And are there any alternatives from the consumer-driven market?

An article from Star Tribune called "Which pink products really help fight breast cancer?" by Kristin Tillotson brought an interesting aspect of products manufactured for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Although I support the cause, I am not a big fan of consumerism tactics from big companies. For every cause, there are products galore catered to it. Let's see: AIDS in Africa- the (RED) campaign where you can buy stuff from Gap, get an iPod shuffle, or even a Dell laptop with the color red; breast cancer- whole bunch of pink stuff you see everywhere this month; support our troops- the red-white-and blue sticker you can buy at every supermarkets and stores. As we love to do good deeds while shopping, the companies also use that to sell stuff as well. So who's the winner? Technically, everyone win in this case: you get your goods, the companies get their sales, and the institutes get their research money. But it's not that simple: the receiving end actually receives less money that way due to some money loss during the transactions.

So my take on this is plain and simple: I support the cause but only buy the goods if I need it. I do not need to bring the extra 10 pair of pink underwear to my house, or that 4-pack of yoghurt if I'm not a fan of it (I actually like yoghurt but don't eat the sugary version!) So my solution: direct donation to my organization of choice, plain and simple like that! That way I know all my money will go directly to them and most of them will actually end up in research, not going around from one account to another and get cut by management and transaction fees.

If you want to donate, may I suggest some reliable organizations?

The Susan G. Komen Foundation
The American Cancer Society
Your local university: donate to the faculty member(s) of your choice.

I want to end this post with a personal note. Having a cousin who passed away from cancer and an aunt who is an cancer survivor, I know how it feels for the family members to go through hardship. The tension and emotion were high during the time my aunt was diagnosed with lymph nodes cancer. And to know my cousin's children who are now living without their mom is also very hard for me, especially their mother and I were very close to each other. Recently, during a retreat, a very beautiful thirty-something year old elementary school teacher shared her experience as a breast cancer patient to us. She is young, beautiful, successful in her career and marriage yet got cancer not once but twice. Her cancer went back to remission y'all and her doctor gave her months to live. It was difficult for us to hear her story and it was even more difficult for her to talk about it. So take it seriously as someone you already know may have cancer and remember, whatever differences or conflicts between you need to be put aside. Love is above all!

I hope I'm not upsetting you over this post. As usual, I am open to your comments and want to hear from you. I know I'm neither the first nor the last blogger to write about Breast Cancer Awareness Month but please keep the statistics in mind and do the right thing.

Have a nice week ahead,
Your Makeup Blogger

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