The other day I was speaking to a friend, on his leg was a tattoo that said “save the hooters”. I inquired about the tattoo and he said it was a golf tournament for breast cancer. Of course it was. I think it is great that organizations raise money for breast cancer. For me, breast cancer is more than the hooters, the tata’s, the melons, or whatever interesting depiction you might use to describe the female breast.

The breast is a part of the female anatomy that is often displayed as an object. It is used far more often than male body parts because it is depicted as a thing of beauty, desire, and pleasure. There is even an argument about breastfeeding in public and exposing ones’ breast to nourish a child. I think that breast feeding removes the allure and that is why people have an issue with it. It is not longer a “hooter”.

However, when it is filled with cancer, the woman who owns that breast probably does not feel the allure of it. The cancer that is growing inside becomes the focus and the breast is no longer considered for it’s beauty. In many cases, surgeries are performed, lumpectomies, mastectomies, reconstruction, no reconstruction. The surgery is the decision of the woman who has been diagnosed, but really how much time does a person have to make a life altering decision? I had about 10 days from diagnosis, to meeting the surgeon and then off to plastics to discuss reconstruction. Now that I have had 4 years to think about it, I would have done it differently.

In the end, the doctors saved me – the person. That is the important part. Not my tata’s, me. Can we move towards thinking about breast cancer as a cancer that affects a person emotionally, physically and mentally. Can we move away from pink t-shirts, pink ribbons on cosmetics and tissue boxes and actually think about the person.

If you are considering reconstruction,check out the book Woman: Redefined. Dignity, Beauty and Breast Cancer. It shows real life women who have made choices based on their breast cancer experience. There are over 50 women in this amazing book, from lumpectomies to going flat, every surgery is represented. This book is about the woman, the person and that is what all cancers need to be about.