Cancer Has a Marketing Problem

I’ve been meaning to write this post all month, but it’s September 27th (almost 28th.) September is Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, which is the closest thing that commemorates or recognizes uterine cancer, which is something that came into my family’s life about a year ago.

Yoplait recognized it on their Facebook page, which made me feel really happy and included, until I saw a whole bunch of people kind of hating on there – saying they should instead or also support this or that… etc etc. And I get it – we all want to feel validated and included, by the media and by our favorite brands. We hope they think of us when these months come around.

There are a lot of organizations that support many different kinds of cancers, but I also believe there are good reasons to have separate marketing and communities for individual diseases. That’s why I want other cancer months to get the attention they deserve, honestly because as a complete medical newb myself, I want to make sure the messaging is clear for people like me. Medical stuff is like science, which is kind of like math. And then I’m all…

So spell it out for us – what are the exams we need? Messaging needs to be specific so it is effective. People need to know about particular exams that can lead to early detection of certain cancers. Sometimes the cancer impacts a certain group of people, or new research will show the contrary – that the cancer also impacts a group outside the typical demographic. That type of thing is an opportunity for targeted campaigns that again, will be clear enough to reach consumers. Some cancers don’t have many symptoms, if any symptoms whatsoever. So again, people need to know about what exams to ask for. In some cases, we need more funding for research to develop exams that will help with early detection.

My mind knows that everyone else having their own cancer months is a good thing. But this is how my heart feels: I feel left out. I feel alienated and lonely because of how much attention other months get as opposed to the “month” that more directly includes my situation. It sounded crazy to me when I felt this way a year ago, but as I’ve mulled it over it doesn’t seem too far fetched after all.

Clearly, the funding, and therefore the attention and visibility is probably going to go to the diseases that are more well known and prevalent. I suppose I wonder if everything actually needs a “month” of its own, anyway. There’s only 12 of these, there’s gotta be an inflection point somewhere. Others may have a more general feeling of a cancer community and awareness from the individual months though, and don’t see the necessity for such specific messaging. I wish I had a solution.


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