I’ve been meaning to write this post all month, but I’m just doing it now. It’s September 27th (almost 28th). But, what the hell, here it goes.
September is Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, which is the closest thing that commemorates or recognizes uterine cancer. This is something that came into my family’s life about a year ago when my mom got diagnosed.
As bad news would, we got the news a few days after I was told my startup was out of money and trying to get acquired, but there was no guarantee I’d have a job at the new company so the message was: “Prep your resume kiddo.” Typical, right?
So, startups. And cancer. Uterine fucking cancer.
Yoplait recognized it on their Facebook page, which made me feel really happy and included and represented.
Then I saw a whole bunch of people kind of hating on there — saying Yoplait should instead/also support this cause or that cause.
I get it. I really do. We all want to feel validated by our favorite brands. We hope they think of us.
There are a lot of organizations that support all cancers. That’s good stuff. I also believe there are good reasons to have separate marketing and communities for individual diseases. That’s why I want “other” cancer months — like October, which is Breast Cancer Month, for example — to get the attention they deserve.
Why? Well, honestly, because as a complete medical newb myself, I want to make sure the messaging is clear. Medical stuff is like science, which is kind of like math. Math? What? If it’s math and it can’t be done with an Excel sheet I’m all…
So spell it out for us. What are the exams we need? That’s why messaging needs to be specific. It has to be specific so it is effective and clear for the consumer — the medical newbs.
Here are a few ways specific months and specific marketing messaging helps.
First, people need to know about particular exams to ask for that can lead to early detection. Sometimes a certain cancer impacts a certain group of people.
Second, sometimes new research will show the contrary. The findings reveal that the cancer also impacts a group outside the typical demographic. That stuff is best communicated through an organization or “month” solely dedicated to that specific cancer.
Third, some cancers don’t have many symptoms, if any symptoms whatsoever. Uterine cancer certainly doesn’t. It isn’t until you have some seriously strange bleeding patterns and you pretty much have the fucking cancer that you find out you have the fucking cancer.
So again, people need to know about what exams to ask for. That call to action is best communicated through targeted campaigns and organizations.
My mind clearly knows that everyone else having their own cancer months is a good thing.
But as I see everyone else’s cancer month about to get more attention and funding, this is how my heart feels: I feel left out.
I feel alienated and lonely. I feel pissed off. I feel confused and scared and alone.
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. But it still makes me feel bad that “my” stuff doesn’t get attention.
I wish I had a solution.