Do Viral Trends Help Raise Breast Cancer Awareness?

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This week, women began updating their Facebook statuses by sharing where they liked to put their handbags, as in, "I like it on the floor." It wasn't the first time a viral meme had women around the world posting private information – on January 7th of this year women posted the colors of their bras. Although the origins of the viral trends were never revealed, the women swore it was all in the name of breast cancer awareness. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and sharing where you "like it on" is supposed to make people think.

There's just one issue: The organizations that support breast cancer research and awareness have nothing to do with the guerilla campaigns, and despite the outpouring of advocates and an increase in Facebook fans, they have seen little in the way monetary donations or useful information. "We haven't seen any awareness or educational follow up associated with this viral campaign," says Karen Young Levi, a spokesperson for breastcancer.org, noting that the posts do not "address specific breast cancer issues, like screening and risk reduction." Advocates for a cure suggest that before joining the viral cause, include a link to a site like komen.org (Susan G. Komen for the Cure), breastcancer.org or nbcam.org (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month). Better yet, donate a dollar per post. That's a viral campaign with impact.

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