Editor's Note: We first ran this piece in 2011 "Saving Tania's Privates: Tania Katan May Be America's Foremost Jewish Lesbian Breast Cancer Survivor." When we received a press kit from a national chain touting their Breast Cancer Awareness cupcake, we were reminded that it's as pertinent today; Tania Katan gave us her permission to run it again.
Every October, we gather with friends and loved ones to race for a cure, think about how we might prevent this disease, make donations, and care for those who are enduring breast cancer.
But really, the overlooked star of this month is... Sugar!
Who doesn't want to dive into a moist, sweet, pink ribbon cookie?
How about licking the peaks of sugary pink frosting from atop a gourmet cupcake? YUM!
It's fair to say that sugar and breast cancer go hand-in-hand! Like organ meats and gout; cigarettes and emphysema; Jan Brewer and xenophobia...Sugar and breast cancer are just a good match!
That's probably why, every October, I am stunned, and excited, to find bloated bakery goods with pink frosting ribbons to promote Breast Cancer AWARENESS!
OK, sarcasm aside, I'm not a doctor — and I don't play one on TV — but even I know that cancer cells have a super high metabolism, they're like the marathon runners of the cell world. There's nothing those nimble little cells love more than to lap up sugar! You don't have to believe me, there's tons of scientific evidence that shows the link between sugar and increased cancer risk. Look it up!
So why, then, are the mascots of Breast Cancer Awareness Month cupcakes, cookies and dancing candy-coated chocolates? Well, we have Suzy G., among other cancer orgs, to thank for these conceptually inaccurate partnerships.
Wait, I'm sorry, I don't mean to be criticizing cancer orgs that are actually doing good things for people. Let me clarify: I am specifically criticizing their misguided partnerships and associations. But my mother always told me that I shouldn't criticize something unless I can come up with a better idea. So, here are some other edible options that cancer orgs might consider stamping a pink ribbon on the next Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
1. Lance Armstrong's Sweat: Lick it, bottle it, drink it, put it on a freaking salad! That one-ball wonder kicked cancer's ass and so can you by ingesting a drop of that curative sweat!
2. Breatharianism: Sure, it's hard to stamp a pink ribbon on air, but think of all the money you'll raise for breast cancer research by trying! Air: It's light, free of sugar, free, yummy-ish, and just because the FDA can't regulate it, doesn't mean it won't fight cancer!
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3. Cancer Cells: Let's eat them before they eat us! Extract those fast-growing cells, stick little pink ribbons on them, dip 'em in chocolate and give the candy companies a run for their breast cancer money.
So, this Breast Cancer Awareness Month, instead of sinking your teeth into a sugary pink ribbon, why don't you check out Breast Cancer Action's Think Before You Pink.
It's much tastier and more conceptually satisfying! YUM!
Tania Katan is the author of the memoir My One-Night Stand With Breast Cancer and the one-woman show Saving Tania's Privates She also heads up the fabulous SMoCA Lounge at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.