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How do we make teal the new pink?

by on April 11, 2012

Thus far, the blog has mostly focused on education about ovarian cancer – symptoms, treatment, prevention, and the like. Today, we’ll be switching gears.

In my post about my reason for getting involved in this cause, I explained that I hoped that awareness of ovarian cancer would come to the forefront in much the same way that breast cancer awareness has increased exponentially over the years. To that end, the next few posts will focus on the state of awareness of ovarian cancer, using the current state of breast cancer awareness as a benchmark. On the agenda for today – the number of organizations focusing on each cancer.

A little over thirty years ago, there were very few (if any) organizations dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen was founded in 1982, and it was one of the first organizations focusing solely on breast cancer. Today, the landscape is very different. It’s hard to get an exact count of the number of breast cancer organizations. However, I took a look at GuideStar (an online database of non-profits) as a starting point. A search for the phrase “breast cancer” returned 1,389 results – that’s over 1300 organizations related to the cause in some way or another.

While it’s obvious that my methodology is by no means perfect or scientific, it gives us somewhere to start the conversation. So, I repeated the experiment using the phrase “ovarian cancer” – want to guess how many results? The number may surprise you – it was 148.

Let that sink in for a moment. Based on my quick and dirty research, there are over 1300 non-profits focused on breast cancer, and fewer than 200 dedicated to ovarian cancer awareness. We have a lot of work to do.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a competition. However, to my mind, the drastic disparity in the number of organizations tells a story. That’s a thread that we’ll be exploring in the next few posts – the pink ribbon is everywhere these days, and it’s useful to understand how it got that way if we want to propel ovarian cancer into the spotlight as well.

Oh, and before I go, I just saw a great article that’s perfectly on point. Read about TEAL… the new pink (scroll down to read the whole article) for some more thoughts on this issue.

-A.J.

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