SAN FRANCISCO—The National Breast Cancer Obliviousness Foundation is gearing up for Breast Cancer Obliviousness Month, to be observed across the U.S. throughout the month of March.
"Each year in this country, more than 40 million Americans don't really think about breast cancer all that much," said National Breast Cancer Obliviousness Foundation director Judith Quinn at a press conference kicking off the month-long event. "These people get up each day and go to work without this dread disease ever crossing their minds."
Founded in 1997, the National Breast Cancer Obliviousness Foundation is one of the nation's fastest-growing charitable organizations. As a result of the group's work, more than 120 million citizens are not aware of the serious threat breast cancer poses or the simple steps women can take to detect and prevent the disease early.
Planned events include marches dedicated to various breast-cancer-unrelated items, including anteaters and motel-lobby vending machines; free cajun-cooking demonstrations; and the distribution of red ribbons to put people's minds on AIDS instead.
"We've come far in our short history, but much work lies ahead," Quinn said. "For example, we're about to produce a pamphlet with basic information on the disease and a list of breast-cancer research organizations to which people can donate money. Then we will leave those pamphlets sitting in some warehouse somewhere in Iowa, just collecting dust."
Among the topics Americans will not learn more about during Breast Cancer Obliviousness Month are the importance of regular mammograms for women over 40, how to conduct an at-home self breast exam, and simple diet and lifestyle tips to help reduce the risk of getting the disease.
"It's vital that we focus our energies on something other than the 190,000 new cases of breast cancer in the U.S. each year," Quinn said. "Because if we don't, we're all going to get pretty bummed out."
Television networks have joined forces with the Breast Cancer Obliviousness Foundation in support of its cause. Throughout March, CBS will air public-service announcements featuring Ray Romano delivering the slogan, "Breast Cancer: Fuhgeddaboutit!" On March 28, NBC will air a "very routine episode" of Friends in which none of the female characters are diagnosed with, or even mention, breast cancer. The episode will conclude with a phone number viewers may call to hear that evening's sports scores.
"Volunteers and donations are still badly needed if we as a nation are going to continue to be unaware of this dreaded killer," Quinn said. "For those who have already heard about breast cancer, it may be too late, but at least we can distract them to help ease their awareness while working to ensure that our daughters, and our daughters' daughters, never know much about this terrible condition."
Added Quinn: "Let's play badminton."