If you've been noticing more ads about boobs lately or spotting NFL players wearing pink ribbons, it's because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sadly, one in eight women will be affected by breast cancer during their lives. While you can show your support by buying certain (pink) products or doing a 5K run, one of the easiest things you can do is get informed. Whether you know someone who has breast cancer, you're going through it yourself, or you'd simply like to learn more, we've gathered 12 of the best books on the topic. Like the experience itself, some are heavy, some uplifting, some funny, but each offer insight into courageous women battling cancer.
We're happy to present this excerpt of a story from one of our favorite sites, YourTango. Today, Jessica Ashley talks about how actresses raise hope and strength about cancer battles through the lives of your favorite characters.
Kristina Braverman's breast cancer diagnosis on the second episode of this season's Parenthood may not have played out as it does in real life — being called into the office immediately after a mammogram, silence, all overplayed by Iron & Wine's haunting "Naked As We Come." But the strained smile and tears as Kristina waved across a parking lot to husband Adam, the look of distress that pulled him toward her to see what was wrong — that felt very real.
Television scripts and actors may not always get the real story of breast cancer right. Bringing the experiences to screen, however, has changed the way we think, speak and view the true-life patients and survivors of cancer. TV keep us very up to date and aware, reminding us all through fundraising or gentle nudges or walks for the cure to get a mammogram.
In a nod to the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we're taking a look at the television characters who were diagnosed, treated with chemo and surgery and radiation, lost and shaved their Hollywood-long hair, died and survived and sweat and laughed for us during prime time.
- Dana Fairbanks from The L Word was played by Erin Daniels and is one of few television characters who dies from the disease on-screen. Diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, Dana's final episodes were full of aching moments. After it aired, Daniels said that preparing for the passing of her character and her own time as a cast member was very emotional for her. "It felt like I was experiencing the slow death of a best friend and of course that was really painful because I'd become so attached to her. I knew her better than anybody else and I still do and always will," the actress commented.
Online rumors point to creator Ilene Chaiken as admitting she regrets how Dana's fight ended. What was real about Dana's experience? Dana is fit, athletic and young, a counter to the images often written about breast cancer. While her death startled viewers, the tense and sad hospital scenes showed a side of illness otherwise glamorized in medical dramas.
- Celia Hodes of Weeds, played by Elizabeth Perkins, is main character marijuana dealer Nancy's manipulative, self-involved, alcohol abusing, too-close-for-comfort neighbor. Celia's breast cancer is discovered in season one and she moves on in subsequent seasons to become an informant against her friend and deal pot through her cosmetics line.
What's real about Celia's experience? Breast cancer doesn't always happen to likable people. Hopefully, characters who resemble Celia a little too much have their own circle of supportive friends and family — no matter how many hijinks they pull.
- Murphy Brown of Murphy Brown, dry-witted and determined, has to be persuaded by friend Corky Sherwood to get a mammogram. The show's last season is centered on Murphy's treatment, which includes a medical marijuana controversy.
What was real about Murphy's experience? The number of mammograms women is said to have soared 30 percent after the show aired. The character's snarky comments didn't dissipate and later, the American Cancer Society honored Candice Bergen for her contributions to breast cancer prevention and education.
For the rest of the article, head to YourTango: Breast Cancer on TV: 8 Characters Who Got It Right.
— Jessica Ashley
More from YourTango:
October is a time of changing leaves, Halloween, and cozy sweaters, but it also signifies a time when people come together to raise awareness and support research for finding a cure. Hundreds of beauty companies have released Breast Cancer Awareness Month items this year, including the nail polish industry. Here, see five brands who have gone above and beyond in the lacquer category, and what they have to offer for 2011.
Source: Flickr User Miss a Liss
There are seemingly endless pink-dipped products out for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but not all of them actually contribute to the cause or make meaningfully sized donations. The following 10 products, however, are the real deal. All are donating at least 20 percent of their profits to reputable charities, and most are donating far more. If you're going to buy something with a pink ribbon on it, give these a second glance.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to show our support for the cause we've rounded up five of our fave pink ribbon fitness products. Help bring awareness to the cause by sporting one of these items during your workout. But it's not just about being pretty in pink: feel good knowing that a percentage of the proceeds from each of these items will help fund breast cancer-related research, support, and education.
It's easy to remember to do self breast exams in October, but the other 11 months of the year so many of us often forget. While there's no definitive rule on whether women should perform SBEs, my doc says to keep it up. The thought being: the better you know your gals, the more likely you are to detect a problem early without being alarmed by the normal monthly changes in your breast tissue. Yet, somehow the task seems daunting, even though it really takes no time at all. To put some perspective on the time commitment, we've listed 10 things that many of us do routinely without batting an eyelash. All of them generally take more time than a SBE, which could potentially save your life.
- Blow drying your hair
- Boiling an egg
- Shaving your legs
- Lacing up a new pair of sneakers
- Folding the laundry
Get your pink on! Sure, I normally reach for black, silver, or white gadgets instead of a sugary-sweet hue of pink, but this month, it's for a good cause. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and though the Fall colors of orange, red, and purple may beckon your senses, lighten up a bit instead — all of these gadgets are tickled pink, and portions of the sale will go to breast cancer research.
For nearly 30 years, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has been raising funds and awareness to help fight breast cancer. And now, the organization is set to launch a fragrance in April. Promise Me, which will be sold in an eau de parfum ($59) and an eau de toilette ($20-$30), is a floral oriental that will include notes of blood orange, bergamot, mandarin, aldehyde, pink peony, black current, rosewood, wild orchid, white patchouli, and musk.
"My sister was always passionate about fragrance," said Nancy Brinker, sister of the late Susan Komen, founder of the foundation, and author of Promise Me ($10-$32), a book that depicts how the organization came to be. The organization hopes to raise $1 million from sales, but critics are likely to notice that just 13.5 percent of the net sales will go to the foundation.
Look for Promise Me in department stores, drugstores, and on TV in just a few months. The limited-edition fragrance will be sold until October, with plans to launch a different scent next year. Will you check it out?
Every October, there's a deluge of pink-wrapped personal care products that fills the shelves in department and drug stores everywhere. With so much fuchsia in your face, it's hard to discern which products really go to a good cause, and which ones are just cashing in on Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We don't highlight every pink thing on principle, but these 10 products help make a real, generous donation to breast-cancer-related causes. So to see what to get when you want to give, read on.