Taboo Words No More: Bras and Breast Cancer

Sharon and I interviewed the most delightful lady on The Cancer Survivor Show this past week by the name of Joanne Hampton.  Joanne has joined forces with her best friend and fellow breast cancer survivor Angela Longwho founded the website Breast Investigators – a community taking the mystery out of breast cancer in order to be a one-stop resource site for those facing and surviving breast cancer.

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 ARTrageous Bras 2014

an outrageous fun way to benefit the Health System cancer care programs

Brunswick, Georgia

As we chatted during this time of personal exchange, we began to talk about the changes in what was “talked about” and “definitely not talked about” in the cancer world until, well really, the last few years.  This is what I mean…


Talkin’ About Elvis

I begin to write this blog wondering just how many of my readers will remember what I am about to talk about.  Seriously.  I am taking a stroll down memory lane when I was a young girl – oh sometime in the mid 1960’s – and I remember my parents talking about that crazy rock-n-roll singer they call Elvis who is shaking his “be-hind” all over the stage…and twisting and turning….and jiggling all kinds of body parts right in front of national television…what a disgrace!

Seriously…all Elvis was doing was shaking his hips a little bit and this became the center of a major social debate.  Before this time no one would ever consider shaking their toosh, displaying any cleavage, or saying anything remotely close to “breast” for the whole world to hear.

Heaven forbid we talk about cancer…much less breast cancer!

Joanne joined the remiss that many of our fellow, veteran survivors have expressed to us over the past months:  just as few as 10-12 years ago women who were diagnosed with breast cancer or any type of cancer for that reason, just did not feel the liberty to discuss their situation.  They did not talk about having cancer, going through treatment, losing their hair, or having their breasts removed and reconstructed.

Joanne spoke about her own personal journey through breast cancer some 11 years ago and how she just did not feel the liberty to talk about her disease, her treatment, or her side effects.  Can you image, just 11 SHORT years ago many people going through cancer treatment did not feel comfortable:

  • Taking their wigs off in public
  • Talking about losing their breasts
  • Discussing their extreme nausea from chemo
  • Asking for help with household responsibilities
  • Daring to mention reconstructed “boobs”
  • Declaring they were scared
  • Decorating a bra and publicly display it for all to see!

We’ve Come a Long Way Baby

That is why Joanne and Angela do what they do today:  make information and resources available to women so that they can feel accepted, validated, and not alone in their cancer journeys; it is a way they can help other women know they do not need to hide behind their breast cancer diagnosis and feel the warmth of others that bring a message of hope and encouragement to what can be a lonely and dismal situation.  Way to go girls…keep up the good work!

I’m not saying that we need to return to a mid 1960’s mind set of “burn your bras” liberalism or any type of drastic social reform stance.  In fact, I am really a pretty conservative gal myself; equality sure but not to the extreme of social upheaval.   What I am saying is it is time for women to be honest with their feelings, emotions, and thoughts.

Healing can only emerge from the opening of a wounded part!

So, if you or a loved one is facing a cancer diagnosis I want you to know you are not alone and do not need to be alone.  Joanne and Angela are there to help. Sharon and I are here to help. Countless others are there to help.  It is the why behind our survivorship that drives us to be the support system for others facing their journey.

No more hiding behind the diagnosis. No more doing it alone.

It is time to speak out and be bold.

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Pumpkins…

… Just Sayin’!






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