03 Oct A personal reminder that marketing is a good thing
The power of marketing has really been proven by the amount of awareness, funding and treatment advancements in breast cancer since this whole pink ribbon thing started. All the #pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month may seem a bit tiresome, at least it was to me until I reaped the benefits this past summer. And it brought home to me the fact that marketing is a GOOD thing. That marketing drives the conversation and helps promote not only sales (which is good for the economy) but awareness and funds to help save lives.
In May of this year I went in for a routine mammogram at the University of Minnesota Breast Center. Although I hadn’t had one since a false positive several years earlier, my mom was being treated for lung cancer and I felt it was time. Also, I had a weird burning sensation in my left breast.
One diagnostic mammogram and subsequent biopsy revealed I had high grade DCIS, which some call Stage 0 breast cancer and others precancer. Less than a month later my excellent surgeon removed the tumor, and lab results showed no invasive cancer. After a month of recovery, I went through radiation therapy which was completed in early September. Although no one really knows which DCIS cases will turn into invasive cancer, for me the personal choice was better safe than sorry.
Needless to say this has been a journey. More interesting to me than my own little tragedy – because believe me, I’ve encountered far more courageous souls than I lately – is how integrated marketing communications has really powered a solution for this particular cancer. Today, we can’t help but experience the mix of public relations, promotion, advertising (through cause marketing partnerships), social media and the like that has permeated not only breast cancer, but other causes as well. It’s become the standard framework for healthcare fundraising and awareness in this country.
Of course many people have accused the Susan G. Komen Foundation of perpetuating itself just to raise funds. And there are many who feel women are being “overtreated” and that DCIS is not cancer. I’m not going to jump into those arguments.
What I will do is say that without the power of marketing, would we be so aggressive about routine mammograms? Would our devices be advanced enough to find DCIS? Would we even be arguing about whether women are overtreated? And of course, would my own problem have gone undetected until it was something way more serious?
Just something to think about.