Monday, October 6, 2008

Oh, Those Ta Tas!

September has always been my favorite month, and why not? It was the start of school, which I've always loved (new notebooks! I still love new notebooks!), and, as you will recall, it's my birthday month.

But October is a close second. October's Bright Blue Weather. Apparently, that was part of a poem my mother learned in school, but that one line -- partial line? -- is all that came to my generation. Beautiful. The days are sunny and brisk in the north. It's invigorating. Down here, of course, there are seasonal differences. It's just difficult to actually see them. I believe in them the way I believe in reincarnation: on faith only.

So, for me, October was just about weather. That was before I found a site on the internet listing all the other excitement that October brings. I'm only going to name a few of the events that make this month so stimulating. You'll note that some are national and some are not. Someone wiser than I knows why.

  • Adopt A Shelter Dog Month

  • Antidepressant Death Awareness Month

  • Celebrate Sun-Dried Tomatoes Month (hyphen mine)

  • Church Library Month (I started a church library at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, in Minnesota in the young seventies)

  • National Bake and Decorate Month (this one's for Palin)

  • National Sarcastic Awareness Month (this one's for Michele)

  • Spinach Lovers Month (this one's for Popeye)

  • Squirrel Awareness Month (this one's for Liz and Annie)

  • National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (this one's for Mike)

Yeah, that last one makes me crazy: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you've ever been in public with me when someone's Running For The Breasts or Collecting Money For The Breasts or even just Wearing A Tee Shirt For The Breasts, I apologize. I tend to, um, rant to the poor women offering pink ribbons.

It's just that breast cancer is the Number Four or even Number Five killer of women in the United States, depending on your source, but very few women seem to know that. We're all pretty sure that it must be breast cancer. I mean, that's the one we hear about, right? That's the one that brought back the color pink: It's not just for six-year-olds anymore.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm all for the cure, although searching for the cause and preventing it might be a good idea, too. Nah. Pharmaceutical companies might not like that. I don't want to lose a breast. Nor do I want to wear a tee shirt my friend saw. It says: GOT BREASTS? Jeeze. It apparently was for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, too, but damn! a little sensitivity over here, please!

The truth is that the Number One killer of women -- which only thirteen percent of us know -- is heart disease. Right. You knew that. You just forgot about it. All that talk about breasts and pink, all those healthy young things Jiggling For The Cure kind of distracted you. I know.

So here are the numbers according to the Center for Disease Control and the American Cancer Society. My source is only from 2005 but the figures were "reviewed" in 2007.

  1. Heart Disease kills 329,000 women a year

  2. Stroke -- 87,000 ... that's a long way from Number One, isn't it?

  3. Lung Cancer -- 73,000

  4. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) -- 68,000

  5. Breast Cancer -- 40,000

Some lists lump all cancers together and some put stroke with heart disease. My main point, though, is that breast cancer is not the Number One killer of women, so that ought to be part of the awareness in this bright blue month.

It's not that I'm belittling breast cancer, but I wonder how many women are ignoring heart disease, thinking that breast cancer's the big scary thing.

There was a whiteboard announcement at my gym: Save the Ta Ta's!!! (unnecessary apostrophe and excessive exclamation points theirs). Neither the other exerciser nor the gym's clerk knew what ta tas were. And they certainly didn't know that Breast Cancer is Number Four. If the Number Four killer were uterine cancer, I wonder what the slogan would be ...

When my buddy Mike sees women all lined up to Run For The Cure, he wails, "Why does no one run for the prostate?" I think it's a good idea, even though I wouldn't know a prostate if it ran up and kicked me in the ta tas. Still, think of the ribbons we could sell! They'd be blue, of course, and we'd have to hang them upside down ...


Anonymous said...

Ironically if you walk for breast cancer, you're helping to avoid a heart attack. I'm with you though. I'm well aware of breast cancer and I'd prefer they just found a cure.
As to uterine cancer, maybe March for the Muff? Ahh, maybe not.

Anonymous said...

Well effing said'!!! -Gale

Carol Sheppard said...

An acquaintance, who I really like, lost a very young wife to ovarian cancer last week. To me, cancer is cancer and even though I've seen Save the Ta Tas t-shirts, bumper stickers, signs, my mind immediately translate it to "find a cure for cancer." I even participated in a Run for the Cure race once. I say participated because I changed the name to "Walk Really Slowly for the Cure." No racing in that title. They didn't seem to mind. Coincidentally, it was that acquaintance and his wife who got me to participate. She had just found out she had it. That was 2 years ago. I don't think I care to differentiate between the cancers. I'll just let my mind translate the way I always do.