Breast cancer pisses me off

I’m pissed off.

Tonight I attended an event benefiting the Seattle chapter of the Young Survival Coalition. YSC’s motto is “Young women facing breast cancer together.” The Seattle chapter was officially formed in 2009, but has been meeting informally since 2002. Their coordinator is a friend of mine through Komen, so I was happy to be able to support their organization tonight.

The evening was festive – fun music, great food and drinks, an energetic local radio personality as the MC. As she was giving the welcome she mentioned that tomorrow many of those present would be attending the memorial services of a friend of theirs, a young woman who lost her battle with breast cancer. And she leaves behind a three-year-old child. What the f*ck? My kids are four and seven. It makes me crazy to imagine them growing up having lost one of their parents to cancer.

Tonight I saw so many women, at least 30 of them, who were diagnosed with breast cancer in their 20s or 30s. Seeing them so full of life, joyous, hopeful, I found myself thanking God that I’m too old to become a member of their club. The mere fact this group exists is so upsetting because it is a shocking reminder that breast cancer isn’t your grandmother’s disease. It can hit anyone, at any age. And I found myself becoming increasingly pissed off.

I’m pissed because breast cancer f*cks up so many lives. I’m pissed because there isn’t a cure. I’m pissed because the young woman whose life is being celebrated tomorrow won’t be the last one to succumb to this insidious disease. I’m pissed because it feels like our priorities as a society are so messed up that we spend millions, even billions, of dollars on war, yet healthcare organizations have to scrape money together to provide people with the screening, treatment and support resources they need.

I’m f*cking pissed.

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