Breast Cancer Awareness Month

According to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, during the year 2000, 182,800 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40,800 women will die of breast cancer. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women ages 40-59 and is second only to lung cancer in cancer deaths. The breast is the leading cancer site among American women.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month originated in October 1985, when the American Academy of Family Physicians and Cancer Care, Inc., distributed brochures, spoke to news reporters, and testified before a U.S. Congressional committee about the need for increased access to mammography. Today, the Board of Sponsors of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month comprises 17 national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working to raise awareness and provide access to screening services.

In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Mammography Day has been held on the third Friday in October since 1993. On National Mammography Day, or throughout October, radiologists provide discounted or free screening mammograms. In 1999, more than 2,200 American College of Radiology (ACR) accredited facilities took part.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, has introduced a section entitled Breast Power. “Having breasts is an experience all women share, everything from buying their first bra to breastfeeding to facing the risk of breast cancer. We must acknowledge these ‘breast experiences’ and understand the impact they have on our lives and sense of self,” the mission statement proclaims.

One part of this new section is a cartoon featuring a superhero named Lacey Brazeer. “Whether she’s battling the body-image blues or combating crass comments and cleavage-vision, you’ll be glad Lacey is on your side,” the site’s mission statement further states.

Exactly who is this Lacey Brazeer? “Lacey spends her days as a mild-mannered marketing associate for Matracon, a women’s apparel company,” according to the introduction of this character. But “Breast Power is what this women’s champion is all about.” Further, “like most superheroes, Lacey Brazeer is strengthened by her secret weapon…Breast Power, an invigorating way of looking at life that she wants to help every woman achieve.”

But not everyone finds this cartoon superhero inspiring, as a check of the message boards on the Breast Power site soon reveals. And over at Salon, the online magazine that issues commentary on everything, Andrew Leonard lamented the first episode of Lacey Brazeer in a September 19, 2000, article entitled “Superbreasts to the Rescue!”

“With the appearance today of Women’s new cartoon superhero, Lacey Brazeer, the women’s Web has now officially struck rock-bottom. It is not only hard but actually painful to try to imagine something that might be more insulting to the intelligence of a person of any gender than ‘door-busting, case-cracking, butt-kicking, breast-powered’ superhero Lacey Brazeer,” Leonard says.