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Ribbons for Every Day of the Week

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
rainbowEveryone recognizes the association between pink ribbons and breast cancer awareness—especially in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But few people are familiar with the color of ribbons associated with lung (white), pancreatic (purple), or head and neck (burgundy/ivory) cancers. Given current research and treatment options, as well as a commitment to equality, isn’t it time to imagine a rainbow coalition?
 
Breast cancer activists have brilliantly organized to heighten public awareness of a disease that threatens many women. Support groups, conferences, run/walk events, and branded clothing raise money for research and aim to help individual women confront a breast cancer diagnosis. As a result of this dedication and determination to battle breast cancer, however, many women diagnosed with other types of cancer may feel they are fighting the “the wrong color of cancer.”
 
After all, many women are diagnosed each year with “below the belt” cancers. But these cancers rarely get the attention, information, and care they need. Even though advertisements tell us about erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer (light blue), why do we remain hesitant to freely and publicly discuss “lady parts”? This hesitancy may be contributing to the debilitating silence surrounding gynecological cancers. I also wonder about colorectal cancers (dark blue) that affect men as well as women. Unfortunately, these diseases remain largely under-publicized as well. Also marginalized in representation and debate are men and women dealing with cancers that afflict smaller populations, including multiple myeloma (burgundy) or thyroid cancer (teal/pink/blue).
 
Amid competing claims for attention and support, cancer research is undergoing a paradigm shift. For example, there are several distinct types of breast cancer, and each requires a different treatment regimen. Just as critically, a single genetic mutation can cause cancers that originate in different body parts. Research based on this fact has given us a number of single-agent drugs that are indicated to work on multiple cancers. Is it now safe to say that the organ of origin may be less important than other factors when cancer is diagnosed? If that is the case, why should those concerned about melanoma (black) compete for resources with those concerned about ovarian cancer (teal)? Wouldn’t it be better if we all banded together, not only to support research into prevention, detection, and cure, but also to counter the exorbitant expense of treatment? Is being ribbon-blind the first step to equality?
Blog Info
Jill Drury, Pharmacist and Cook
Blog Description
In this blog, Jill Drury, a clinical pharmacy specialist based in Chicago, Illinois, will talk about her passions—pharmacy and cooking, and how she has managed to blend the two. She will provide insights on compounding, along with recipes for healthy dishes, and will relate stories from her experiences.
Author Bio
By day, Jill Drury works as a clinical pharmacy specialist in Chicago during the week and as a clinical staff pharmacist at a retail pharmacy on the weekends. By night, she is a cook, mixing up recipes and sharing the results with her coworkers. Whether she's in the laboratory or the kitchen, Drury spends the bulk of her time measuring, grinding, and pouring to create a better finished product.

Drury earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from Midwestern University College of Pharmacy in 2007. She has done numerous presentations and consults for several pharmaceutical companies. She has won top honors at the Wisconsin State Fair for her jam, and has a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jack-Jills-Laboratory/117372888279326?ref=ts) dedicated to baking.

Drury has found that the skills she utilizes behind the pharmacy counter can be applied to the stove top, and that both require a generous helping of patience and precision. Stay tuned to learn more!

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