TIME remembrance

Former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley Dies at 75

Mobley was crowned Miss America in 1959

Actress, philanthropist and former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley died Tuesday morning in Beverly Hills, Calif., after a second battle with breast cancer, one of her daughters has announced in a statement to NBC News. She was 75.

Born in Biloxi, Mississippi, Mobley, was crowned Miss America in 1959 and became one of the few Miss Americas to launch a successful TV and movie career. She graduated from “Ole Miss” in 1958 and was the university’s first Carrier Scholar and the first woman voted into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

“When I was a little boy growing…

Read the rest of our story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Cancer

3D Mammograms Are Better For Dense Breasts

A new study adds to growing support for 3D mammograms

No option is perfect when it comes to mammography. That’s particularly true for women with dense breasts, who are burdened with a greater risk for cancer and tumors that are harder to find. But a new study shows that 3D mammograms can increase cancer detection in women with dense breasts.

The new research, presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), compared 3D mammography with full-field digital mammography (FFDM) to just FFDM on its own in 25,547 women between ages 50 and 69.

The 3D mammography screening method detected much more cancer than FFDM alone: 211 cancers compared to only 163. When it came to dense breasts, the 3D mammography and FFDM were able to identify 80% of the cancers, versus 59% via FFDM alone.

The new study is just the latest in a series of recent findings that support 3D mammography as a more accurate screening method for breast cancer. Prior research published this year has shown that 3D mammograms can save more lives, reduce medical costs and cut down on anxiety-inducing false positive results.

TIME Cancer

Why Meditation and Yoga Are Recommended for Breast Cancer

Non-invasive alternative therapies can clear an anxious mind

Up to 80% of American patients with breast cancer will undergo complementary therapies to manage anxiety and stress after they receive a diagnosis.

Though there’s no clear consensus on which integrative and alternative therapies work and which are ineffective, more and more medical practices have incorporated practices like mindfulness and acupuncture into their offerings. But a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs conducted by several major oncology facilities has examined which therapies benefit patients the most. The answer? Meditation, yoga and relaxation with imagery.

The three methods are known to be calming for those who practice them, and the researchers gave the practices an “A” for treating symptoms of mood disorders that are highly common among people with a recent diagnosis.

To come up with the grade, the researchers parsed through clinical trials conducted from 1990-2013 on complementary therapies paired with routine cancer treatment, like chemotherapy. The researchers then graded each therapy based on efficacy. Acupuncture was given a “B” for controlling chemo nausea, and music therapy also received a “B” for anxiety and stress.

“Women with breast cancer are among the highest users [of these therapies]…and usage has been increasing,” the authors write in their study. “Clear clinical practice guidelines are needed.” The study involved researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, MD Anderson, University of Michigan, Memorial Sloan Kettering and more.

The researchers also gave some therapies low grades. For example, healing touch was given a “C” for lowering pain, and aloe vera gel was not recommended at all for preventing skin reactions from radiation therapy. The researchers also point out that while some natural products were shown to be effective, they did not have the safety data to back them up, suggesting more formal research is needed before some of the therapies can be officially recommended.

As patients with breast cancer and other forms of cancer continue to seek other ways to deal with some of the emotional side effects that stem from serious illness, it will become increasingly important for hospitals to find ways to answer their unmet needs—which might include a yoga class.

TIME Cancer

This Mammogram Saves Lives and Money

Dubin Breast Center Of The Tisch Cancer Institute At The Mount Sinai Medical Center Ribbon Cutting & Opening
Gary Gershoff—Getty Images A 3D mammogram machine at the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City

A screening combo may be worth it for women with dense breasts

More hospitals are offering women the latest technology in mammography: machines that can recreate breast tissue in 3D to help doctors better detect the earliest cancers. But it’s still not clear whether these screens, which cost more than digital mammograms, are worth the money.

In a study published in the journal Radiology, researchers led by Dr. Christoph Lee at the University of Washington found that for women with dense breasts, who often need repeat mammograms, adding on 3D screening—called tomosynthesis—to a traditional digital mammogram actually costs less in the long run.

MORE: High-Tech 3D Mammograms Probably Saved This Woman’s Life

Women with dense breasts are at moderate to high risk of developing breast cancer because of the volume of breast cells in their tissue, and Lee’s team created a model for these patients to compare the cost effectiveness of digital mammography every other year to digital mammography with 3D screening every other year. Using data from the National Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium, the researchers calculated breast cancer rates and deaths using both screening methods, and found that for every 2,000 women with dense tissue who were screened, the 3D and digital test avoided one additional death from breast cancer compared to the digital mammography alone.

Just as importantly, says Lee, the model predicted that the two screening methods together averted 810 false positive readings. Fewer false positives means that women won’t get as many repeat scans and will be less likely to have biopsies and other procedures to learn more about any suspicious growths.

“The savings represented by 810 fewer false positives are a huge savings in anxiety, diagnostic workup and resource utilization in the health care system,” says Lee. “The decrease in false positives is what is driving cost effectiveness and showing that the benefits of adding tomosynthesis outweigh the added costs of the technology.”

The findings support a study published earlier this year that showed for the first time that 3D mammography detected more cancers, while reducing the false positive rate in a broader group of women even without dense breast tissue.

MONEY Charity

How to Make the Biggest Impact With Your Breast Cancer Donations

Breast cancer ribbon made out of $100 bill on pink background
Jesus Jauregui—Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you want to give in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, don't get "pinkwashed." Instead, consider donating to one of these five worthy organizations.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, in case you hadn’t noticed.

But how could you not? This time of year, pink ribbons and other paraphernalia—from clogs to buckets of chicken to NFL jerseys—are more ubiquitous than pumpkins.

While buying those pink products may seem like an easy way to support the 2.9 million people living with breast cancer in the U.S., you should think twice before purchasing.

Not everything with a pink ribbon is supporting research for a cure, says Gayle Sulik, author of Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health. Some of these products give no proceeds to cancer charities, but simply “raise awareness.”

Other times, Sulik adds, sales of the products don’t have any impact on a company’s giving as the firm has already set a cap on its donation amount.

Even worse than buying a pink product that gives nothing back is buying a product from a company that “pinkwashes,” or promotes pink ribbon products while also selling or producing products that contain ingredients known to increase the risk of breast cancer.

All in all, “it doesn’t make much sense to buy pink ribbon products,” says Samantha King, author of Pink Ribbons, Inc: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy. “By doing so, you’re simply subsidizing corporate marketing campaigns. If you want to give, give directly to the breast cancer organization.”

Plus, by giving directly you get to report the tax-deductible charity contribution, rather than letting a corporation have your write-off, notes Sulik.

Of course, with all the different charities vying for your generosity, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where exactly you should donate.

To make that task easier, MONEY—with the help of Sulik, King and Charity Navigator—identified five breast cancer charities where you can feel confident that your dollars will be put to good use funding prevention research, education, and patient support.

These organizations have high levels of accountability, have successfully sustained their programs over time, and spend a high percentage of their revenue on programs and services rather than administrative or fundraising costs.

If you want to support prevention research:

Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

Millions of dollars from the government, universities, and nonprofits are spent investigating breast cancer each year, but the majority of those funds are going to support research aimed at treating the disease.

This Santa Monica, Calif.-based nonprofit invests only in research that focuses on understanding the causes of breast cancer. In particular, the organization studies the breast duct, where breast cancer begins, to understand what conditions support or block the development of the disease.

The research foundation spends a high 83% of its revenue on program expenses and received Charity Navigator’s top rating for its standards of accountability and transparency for donors.

California Breast Cancer Research Program

Run out of the University of California, this program is the largest state-funded breast cancer research effort in the nation. While it accepts donations, it also has a stable revenue stream from California’s tobacco tax.

An extremely high 95% of its revenue goes directly to funding research and education. California Breast Cancer Research Program also devotes 50% of its research fund to work that focuses on the environmental causes, risk factors, protective measures, and the impact of income inequality. Both Sulik and King recommended this charity because of the program’s quality of research and prevention focus.

If you want to help young breast cancer patients:

Young Survival Coalition

Founded in 1998 by three women who were all diagnosed with breast cancer before their 35th birthdays, this organization’s mission is to serve the roughly 13,000 women under 40 who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. (Sulik says this was a neglected population within the breast cancer community for a long time.)

YSC helps these young women by providing support and health information to see them from diagnosis to long-term survivorship. The nonprofit tackles issues specific to this population, like early menopause, effects on fertility, more aggressive cancers and lower survival rates. It also advocates for increased studies on young women with breast cancer.

If you want to support breast cancer education:

National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund

The National Breast Cancer Coalition’s sister organization works to help guide breast cancer patients through the maze of medical information available to them so that they can make informed decisions. Its Project LEAD program, which Sulik called “excellent,” offers courses to prepare people to be active leaders in all forums where breast cancer research decisions are made.

According to Charity Navigator, which has awarded the Fund three stars, the organization spends more than 80% of its revenue on these education program expenses and has extremely high levels of accountability.

If you want to help breast cancer patients avoid debt:

The Pink Fund Inc.

“This is a growing organization designed to meet a practical need,” says Sulik. It provides short-term financial aid to breast cancer patients who have lost all or part of their income during active treatment. The Pink Fund also helps cover patients’ health insurance costs, mortgage payments, utility bills, car insurance and other basic living expenses.

Because the organization was founded in 2007 and has less than $1 million in revenue, it isn’t rated on Charity Navigator. But on our request, analysts from the site vetted The Pink Fund’s finances. And Sandra Miniutti, vice president of Charity Navigator, says that adding a smaller, less-tested charity to your overall giving portfolio can make sense if you believe in the kind of work it is doing.

TIME Cancer

Here’s How Well Your Genes Can Predict Your Breast Cancer Risk

Researchers say genetic sequencing can predict breast cancer risk better than previously thought

Your genes have a lot to say about who you are and how healthy you are. But for certain diseases, including cancer, so many genes are likely involved that it’s hard for doctors to come up with a useful, reliable way to turn your DNA information into a precise risk score.

But in a paper published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers say that combining the known genetic players in breast cancer can predict with much higher accuracy a newborn girl’s theoretical risk of developing the disease.

MORE: Angelina Jolie’s Surgery May Have Doubled Genetic Testing Rates at One Clinic

Alice Whittemore, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Stanford University School and Medicine, and her colleagues included 86 known genetic variants that have been associated with breast cancer—including BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are relatively rare but confer a very high risk of disease compared to those that have a smaller contribution—and created a computer model that took into account the rates of breast cancer among women who had these genetic variants.

This model served as a predictor for breast cancer based on womens’ genetic makeup. When researchers looked at the top 25% of risk scores, they found that these would account for about half of breast cancer cases in the future. Using previous models, genetic variants could account for only 35% of future cancer cases.

“Our results are more optimistic than those that have been previously published,” says Whittemore, “because we took 86 known genetic variants associated with breast cancer, and took what was in the world’s literature about how common those variants are, and by how much a factor they increase risk. And the more genetic variants that are identified, the better we will get at this.”

MORE: BRCA Gene Can Be A Cancer Triple Whammy, Study Finds

Since the paper was submitted, several new genetic variants have been linked to breast cancer, and adding those to the model, says Whittemore, could make it more effective.

But just because a woman may have been born with a high genetic risk for breast cancer doesn’t mean that she can’t change that risk. The model found that lifestyle factors, which are in a woman’s control, can generally lower that genetic risk as well. And the higher a woman’s genetic risk, the more she can reduce it with healthy behaviors.

“The news is that even if you are at high genetic risk of developing breast cancer, it’s all the more reason to do what you can to modify your lifestyle to lower your risk by changeable factors even if your genes aren’t changeable,” says Whittemore.

TIME Cancer

Study Links Latina Women With Gene That Lowers Breast Cancer Risk

Some Latina women have a gene that significantly lowers the risk of getting breast cancer, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that the gene is most effective at protecting against the variations of the disease that lead to the worst prognosis.

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco reported that 20% of self-identified Latinas had one copy of the gene, which led to 40% reduced risk of breast cancer. The 1% of Latinas who had two copies of the gene were about 80% less likely to have breast cancer, the study found.

Other medical research has shown that Latina women have lower a incidence of breast cancer than women with other backgrounds, but it wasn’t clear from what caused the disparity.

“After our earliest studies, we thought there might be a genetic variant that led to increased risk in European populations,” said UCSF professor and study author Elad Ziv in a press release. “But what this latest work shows is that instead there is a protective variant in Native American and Latina populations.”

Mammograms conducted for the study showed that women with the genetic variation had less dense breast tissue, which is thought to correlate with reduced breast cancer risk.

“We have detected something that is definitely relevant to the health of Latinas,” said Laura Fejerman, UCSF assistant professor and an author of the study, in a press release. “As a Latina myself, I am gratified that there are representatives of that population directly involved in research that concerns them.”

TIME Culture

Watch Paula Abdul’s Oddly Catchy Music Video About Breast Cancer

How about some information please

Straight up now tell me when was the last time you checked yourself for breast cancer? Paula Abdul wants the ladies to know that if you’re over 50, you should be getting a mammogram once a year. So she’s reminding the public about this important health message with a medium everyone can understand: a dance song that sounds a bit like her 1988 hit, “Straight Up.”

The “Check Yourself” video, made on behalf of the Avon Foundation for Women in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, features some furious wrist-based choreography, a lot of purposeful (and appropriate!) breast touching and — because it’s 2014 — what appears to be a little cultural appropriation (hasn’t Katy Perry taught musicians to avoid outfits like the one featured a minute and 20 seconds in?). The most noteworthy accomplishment, however — besides providing a Paula Abdul career update and, you know, spreading a positive message — may be the way Abdul makes the words “clinical exam” sound like they’ve always belonged in a big pop song.

America’s currently all about that bass, but will it be all about that breast?

TIME health

I Got Rid of My Breasts So I Wouldn’t End Up Like My Mom

Bra with Breast Cancer ribbon
Getty Images

Since both my parents died of cancer, I started to worry that maybe I would follow suit


This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

I remember the first time I went bra shopping.

I was 13 and I didn’t really NEED a bra, but everyone in my class was starting to wear one and I just wanted to fit in and be cool.

It was embarrassing to drag my dad to Victoria’s Secret with me. I would have dragged my mom like all the other girls at school, but I didn’t have a mom. She had died of breast cancer a few months prior.

Growing up, I missed my mother terribly. I wasn’t capable of being a happy-go-lucky college or high school student. I’d hear other high school girls whine about having a bad hair day and all I kept thinking was, “Be thankful you even have hair! That you don’t have to go through chemo and lose it all!”

When I was 23, my father was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. He died a year later and I never felt so alone. I had no one telling me to go get my teeth cleaned or go to the doctor for check-ups; suddenly it was all in my hands.

Since both my parents died of cancer, I started to worry that maybe I would follow suit. That’s when I paid a visit to my mom’s former oncologist. She had diagnosed my mother when I was merely a fetus. I sat down in her office and she informed me that both my mother and I tested positive for the BRCA 1 mutation, putting me at a very high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. (This is the same mutation Angelina Jolie had.)

I was a mutant. Not even a cool mutant like the ninja turtle kind or one of the X-Men superheroes. I didn’t get to eat pizza in a sewer or turn into a werewolf. I was just really good at making breast tumors. I felt like I was literally becoming my mother. I was terrified I’d end up with her fate.

I didn’t even need to think it over; I knew right then and there that I was going to get rid of my boobs.

Within a week, I had already met with multiple breast and plastic surgeons. I researched, I Googled, I joined support groups, I saw more boobs in the span of a few days than most pervy high school boys. For the few months I had left to live with my real boobs, I prepped to part with them forever. I wrote them a proper good-bye letter, had a low key “photoshoot,” and I even let some boys squeeze them a day before my surgery.

However, this wasn’t easy. I was plunging head first into very major surgery, all alone.

All of a sudden I was faced with choices I never imagined I’d have to make. Should I keep my nipples? Keeping them would raise my breast cancer slightly, but I still desperately wanted to be able to look down at my chest and feel like my old self. I had no mom to call and help me with these gut wrenching and personal decisions.

Then, of course, the question I got asked by everyone was how big I was going. Luckily, this decision came very easy to me as my main goal was just to have my boobs look like my original ones.

My mastectomy process involved two surgeries. The first one was the most difficult. All my breast tissue was removed and two tissue expanders were placed in my chest muscle. I woke up with a chest of an adolescent child. For the first few weeks, I was essentially boobless.

I was really nervous about this period but I kind of enjoyed being flat-chested. Shirts and dress fit me differently and I could wear very low cut tops without worrying my boobs would fall out.

Over the course a few months, these chest expanders were gradually filled with saline and I watch my chest grow a teeny bit every few weeks. I called it “puberty in fast-forward.”

I had my final surgery of the reconstruction process last month and my chest expanders were swapped out for silicone implants

I didn’t have a Brad Pitt or even a significant other to hold my hand and kiss my forehead telling me it’ll be OK or at least bring me pizza on demand. I didn’t have millions of dollars to pay assistants to help me through recovery. I certainly didn’t have the famous name to get me first in line with the most respected surgeons in Los Angeles. Luckily, I also didn’t have US Weekly on my back so I didn’t have to hide and I could look like crap at the hospital and no one would care.

I stayed with my very generous friends who helped and supported me immensely. It was not an easy process — it involved two surgeries, but I did it and I couldn’t be happier that it’s behind me.

The hardest part of the whole process wasn’t the surgery or the pain. It was asking for help. I wasn’t capable of lifting my arms for a few weeks; I couldn’t dress or bathe myself. Putting on makeup and even washing my face felt impossible. I also wasn’t quite sure how my insurance would cover the surgery and how I could afford it. I had to start asking for help and advice, something that has always been difficult for me. Since I was a caretaker for both my parents when they were sick, I was used to being the strong one. Now I had to find other people to be my source of strength.

Now I’m really proud of my boobs. I wish I could show my new boobs off without coming off as slutty or like an attention whore. Mainly, I want to prove to other people, “LOOK! You can get a life-saving mastectomy and your boobs can look this awesome!”

Maybe people think I’m being too loud and obnoxious about my mastectomy, but I just want to encourage people to take their health options into their own hands. I hope no woman is afraid to have a mastectomy because she feels it will make her unattractive, or is worried that a guy won’t be turned by a girl who has mastectomy scars or no nipples. (I was lucky to be able to keep mine in the end, but that’s not always the case with mastectomies.)

Now I’m trying to live my life with a little less anxiety about developing breast cancer, but it’s weird being a single 26-year-old without parents or my old boobs. I’m a comedian, so this experience has given me some great material, but I try not to let it define me.

People sometimes tell me I’m brave, which I don’t entirely I agree with. I’m just terrified of getting cancer and losing my hair like my mom did! But I suppose bravery is being scared of something and doing it anyway, and I did do that.

Now, with my new artificial boobs, I don’t need to be as afraid I’ll end up like my mom. I don’t need to get mammograms; I don’t need visit the oncologist every few months. And the best part: I don’t even need to go bra shopping.

Backless dresses, here I come!

Eden Dranger is a writer and stand up comedian living in Los Angeles.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Opinion

When Is ‘Awareness’ Awareness Month?

Charlotte Alter for TIME

Be aware. Be very aware.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means it’s time to briefly contemplate getting a mammogram while munching on a pink cookie. But it’s also Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so you should probably tweet angrily about the NFL. And AIDS Awareness Month, so why not finish watching The Normal Heart?

Don’t forget October is also Rett Syndrome Awareness Month, Selective Mutism Awareness Month, and Vegetarian Awareness Month. And Dental Hygiene Awareness Month, which means you should feel extra guilty for forgetting to floss. With so much heightened awareness, who needs LSD?

All these good intentions seem harmless enough, but beneath the T-shirts and cookies and colored ribbons lurks a silent threat. It’s hard to detect, harder to contain, and extremely contagious. It can lead to compulsive “liking” and hashtag abuse. In the advanced stages, it can cause Facebook profile pictures to spontaneously mutate.

It’s time to sound the alarm: we need an Awareness Awareness Month.

“Awareness” is a virus that preys on well-meaning minds. It tricks us into thinking that thought is the same as action, that acknowledging something is the same as fixing it. Awareness is a problem masquerading as a solution.

Of course, awareness is a necessary first step in getting anything done. We can’t cure breast cancer, or end domestic violence, or fight AIDS unless we’re paying attention to them. But awareness should be the first step towards action, not the last. It’s the means to an end, not the end in itself.

And that’s exactly the problem– Now that “awareness” is so trendy, we seem to have forgotten about that pesky second part, the part where we actually do something. How convenient to think that awareness is enough! How satisfying for us to think that a momentary synapse twitch in our brains counts as a meaningful step towards change. It’s part of a crisis of tangibility, where we confuse mental thoughts, or digital clicks, for real action. “Awareness” is a direct descendent of the “if you can dream it, you can do it!” mentality on which Millennials were weaned. Only we’ve got it mixed up now– we think dreaming it is doing it.

Newsflash: only Roald Dahl’s Matilda can move things with her mind.

Take, for example, the HeforShe campaign that the United Nations launched in September with a “groundbreaking” speech by Emma Watson. The goal of the campaign was to get 1 billion men to sign the HeforShe pledge, in a “solidarity movement” to stand up for gender equality. Watson’s speech was a beautiful, articulate defense of feminism that went appropriately viral. But it promised no concrete action towards educating women or stopping gender-based violence–no funding, no organized policy strategy, no legislation. More than 171,000 men have so far signed the HeforShe petition, but what does that even mean? They’ve just pressed a button saying they support women–that’s like pressing a button saying “I’m not a racist.” It’s easier than checking “agree” on the iTunes Terms & Conditions.

Meanwhile, an entire page of the program accompanying the UN event was dedicated to explaining why UNWomen had chosen a particular color of magenta to represent HeforShe: “Viscerally alive, iconic and fresh, daring and courageous, HeforShe Magenta walks the fine line between male and female, making it the ideal shade to speak to the elimination of gender inequality.”

The magenta sounds lovely, but somehow I doubt Boko Haram has been waiting to release the girls until the UN developed the perfect shade of pink.

Or look at the new testicular-cancer-awareness #FeelingNuts campaign, which was recently endorsed by Hugh Jackman when he tweeted a picture of himself holding his own (clothed) balls. The scrotum-squeeze has gone viral, but how much money has been raised to fight testicular cancer? It’s hard to tell, because the campaign doesn’t require any kind of donation, unlike the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. And there’s no evidence that the thousands who take pictures of themselves holding their balls are doing any kind of actual screening– they could easily be using the campaign as an excuse for a crotch-grab selfie.

“Awareness” has quickly become another way to be holier-than-thou. Didn’t change your Facebook picture to support marriage equality? You must not care about the obstacles gay people face. Not going topless naked in Times Square? You must not care about the censorship of women’s bodies. Have you seen how many causes I support? Were you aware that I am hyper-aware?

Of course, some awareness campaigns actually do a lot of good, like the aforementioned ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised more than $100 million to fight the debilitating disease. But for every brand that that actually donates to a cause like breast cancer research, there are dozens who “pinkwash” their products, labeling them with pink ribbons while donating only a tiny portion of proceeds or continuing to use carcinogenic chemicals. “Awareness” has become more of a branding opportunity than a public service.

Besides, issues that are well-publicized enough to have Awareness Months are usually already being addressed, somewhat efficiently, by well-funded Western organizations. When is Ebola Awareness Month? What about Child Bride Awareness Month? How about Female Circumcision Awareness Month? Might I suggest January?

See, it’s only a certain kind of cause that gets a whole month of “awareness.” Causes that are big enough to be taken seriously but not too disturbing to display on a yogurt container. Unfortunately, that means lots of big problems– problems that are too terrifying to fit onto a T-shirt — get ignored. And when we congratulate ourselves about how “aware” we are, and jump mindlessly from one cause to the next, we lose sight of the bigger issues that need fixing.

So let’s raise awareness about the danger of empty “awareness.” Let’s spread the word about only spreading the word. I propose we make October Awareness Awareness Month– and YOU can take a stand, by tweeting with the hashtag #awarenessawareness, “liking” my Facebook page, or staring mindlessly at your own hand.

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