Prostate cancer needs a Susan G. Komen

Pink-pimp-3-20102One would have had to be color blind to miss the splashes of pink adorning every NFL player and stadium this past Sunday. The same goes for the bright pink worn by countless walkers, runners and cyclers participating in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month events. And, that is as it should be.

But, did you know that September was National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month? I sure didn't. And, I didn't see one NFL player or stadium sporting light blue, which is the initiative's official color. Nor did I see any walkers, runners or cyclists supporting the cause.

A quick check of Zero: The Project to End Prostate Cancer (insert link) revealed these sobering facts:
– One in eight American women is diagnosed with breast cancer. But, ONE IN SIX American men is diagnosed with prostate cancer.
– Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed disease among men and is the second leading cause of men's cancer.
– 240,000 men contract prostate cancer every year.
– Sixty percent of men who contract prostate cancer are African-Americans.

According to Zero, '…Significantly more federal dollars, more attention and more support are being afforded breast cancer.' They don't say why, but I can hazard a guess: the Susan G. Komen Foundation. It has to be one of the most powerful marketing and fundraising machines of our time. Sadly, though, there is no male version of Komen; no prominent, well-healed victim who can strike a chord and rally a cause.

I think the NFL has bowed to political correctness and wrapped itself in pink for two reasons:

– Perhaps one simply doesn't say no the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

– It's smart marketing. The NFL already has the full attention of every red-blooded American male. By embracing breast cancer, the NFL is doing some very smart target marketing towards women. It's a no brainer.

I should note that, unlike the NFL, Major League Baseball hasn't ignored prostate cancer. Indeed, MLB has declared Father's Day, June 18th, as prostate cancer awareness day.

So, why can't the NFL launch its season with a prostate cancer awareness month and adorn its players and stadiums with light blue wristbands, socks and bunting? There must be a reason. While it's probably not the case, perhaps the Komen folks demanded exclusivity with the NFL?

It's high time the NFL lend a helping hand to its core male audience. It's also clear that prostate cancer desperately needs its own Susan G. Komen to jump start a long overdue need.

 I'd love to help. I'm a big supporter of the Young Survival Coalition and would gladly lend my support to Zero or any other organization that, unlike the NFL, won't turn its back on half the American population. Besides, powder blue has always been my favorite color.


14 thoughts on “Prostate cancer needs a Susan G. Komen

  1. Thanks Trish. It’s amazing and troubling to see how much awareness Komen has generated for breast cancer awareness and how little has been done for prostate cancer.

  2. No argument from me, book. As you know, I’m a big supporter of the Young Survival Coalition. But, I’m looking at this from a branding and marketing standpoint. And, in my opinion, prostate cancer deserves a whole lot more recognition. And, I’m especially frustrated by the NFL’s unwillingness to be more actively engaged.

  3. When I participated in the NFL breast cancer kickoff at Giants Stadium last year, it was as a guest of American Cancer Society, not Susan G. Komen. I have also heard from a Princeton University microbiologist that said both Komen and ACS donate to the university to keep a 24 hour research team up and running because, as he said it, you have to pay people to want to go into research and you also have to keep the research going. There have been many great strides in cancer research thanks to ACS and Komen and while it doesn’t detect and cure the cancer, yet, it does, however, prolong your life with better lifestyle improvements. I’ll keep donating and hope that you can find a spokesperson for prostate cancer because, in the end, all cancers need funding, not just mine.

  4. Great post. My friend lost her father to the disease just two years ago. He was a chaplain for the Army and had just come back from serving overseas when he was diagnosed on a routine exam. My boyfriend lost his mentor to the disease. Prostate health definitely needs an advocate like Katie Couric when she brought attention to colon cancer.

  5. With all due respect, Gaetano, an ex-con isn’t exactly an answer to Susan G. Komen. I respect what Milken’s done since doing hard time, but an ex-junk bond trader isn’t my idea of a figurehead.

  6. Michael Milken is prostate cancer’s answer to Susan Komen…In 1993 Milken founded the Prostate Cancer Foundation for prostate cancer research. Milken himself was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. His cancer is currently in remission. The Prostate Cancer Foundation works closely with MLB through its Home Run Challenge program and it’s Foul Balls program to promote awareness of prostate cancer and raise money for medical research. Each season in the weeks leading up to Father’s Day, Milken visits many ballparks and appears on TV and radio broadcasts during the games.
    In 2003, Milken launched a Washington, D.C.-based think tank called FasterCures, which seeks greater efficiency in researching all serious diseases. A key initiative of FasterCures is Biobank Central, which is advancing life sciences research in areas as diverse as autism, psoriasis and breast cancer. Way to go Mr. Drexel Burnham…sometimes someone who has gone south of the law comes back and does a lot of good.