Wanted: International Menopause Awareness Month
Now that October is behind us, I’ve often wondered how it became the month chosen for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) and by whom? If you go to the official NBCAM website it says that they celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2009 and are a “…partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services.”
According to Wikipedia: “…a major pharmaceutical company which manufactures breast cancer drugs founded National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985. The aim of NBCAM from the start has been to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.” The web encyclopedia then goes on to credit Evelyn Lauder with establishing the pink ribbon as the symbol for breast cancer in 1993, and adds that the Susan G. Komen Foundation held its first Race for the Cure in October 1983 and was the first to hand out pink ribbons in 1991 at its New York City race for breast cancer survivors.
Whatever the case may be, the pink ribbons and the month of October have brought attention to what many of us are aware of all year long. As a breast cancer patient, survivor and someone who has lost loved ones to the disease, these are all positive strides in getting everyone to work together to find a cure, and that is a wonderful thing. But now, as the most recent part of my treatment, I’ve been dramatically thrown into chemically induced menopause, and I’ve realized that this too needs a voice.
As I’ve begun connecting with other women in the same situation and, like me, who are unable to take hormone replacement therapy, the discussion focuses on how we are suffering from the same harsh, sometimes debilitating, side effects of menopause. I’ve come to realize that it’s time to bring awareness to something that will never have a cure and affects 100 percent of women around the globe. Although it may seem like a formidable task, it’s time to declare a new month, International Menopause Awareness Month.
I wonder how women would feel about March?
But in all seriousness, at the age of 44, with the estrogen completely depleted from my body and the chemicals in my brain being thrown off balance, I’ve grappled with the agony of not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The struggles of menopause need a voice and for the next few months, working towards designating the month of March as International Menopause Awareness Month, that one will be mine.