Rhode Island Breast Cancer Coalition is the State's only Breast Cancer ADVOCACY Organization

Huge Challenge for Breast Cancer Advocates change the conversation

The many mediums we use to advertise a product or a mission, from the humblest in-store sampling to the most expensive Superbowl ad, are only important in so far as they are contagious (they make people talk about them) and they change the conversation.

How do you change a conversation?
First: Listen
First, let’s visualise that conversation. The conversation that is going on (right now) about breast cancer is rooted in wareness campaigns. It involves millions, even billions of people. It involves well recognized organizations promoting pepto-bismol with a ribbon. There is even a 31 day dedication to this ribbom called pinktober. That ribbon is on your cereal box, cat food, toilet paper, road map, underwear and even on that plane you are taking for vacation. Your Member of Congress wears the ribbon as an outward sign of her/his committment to the cure. 

Know the conversation: What is being said about breast cancer
The current conversation is sparked  by media ads and minute announcements on TV and radio news prgrams. “Scientists in Oregon have discovered another gene linked to breast cancer”. And  random news events, celebrities diagnosed with breast cancer, a scandal at a cancer esearch center. Books telling personal stories about one’s journey with breast cancer.
When a corporation or highly visible cancer organization focuse efforts on breast cance it implies a commitment to the disease and the woen and men diagnosed with it. However, the reality may very well be that media recognition for having a social consciousness drives profits for their bottom line. How many rolls of toilet paper must you buy or lids of yogurt do you have to lick to save one life? No one has the answers.

Pinkwashing has brought about a backlash on breast cancer. All of the pinkness (a pretty, fuzzy color that makes you think of princesses) has led to a level of comfort about breast cancer and the assumption that the disease is being taken care of.
Second: Share Your Point of View; Be accurate and precise.
Give Examples of how the NBCC has changed systems and reiterate your confidence that NBCC’s strategic approach  CAN end breast cancer. 
When you initiate the conversation…you are standing for something…the end of breast cancer. A very powerful message. Present your commentary with confidence and passion.

It is Not Easy
To change a conversation like this …from pretty and pink and awareness being the “answer” isn’t easy. It takes vision, time, discipline and money. NBCC has the vision and hs cmmitted resources to develop the srategic plan and initiate a deadline to end breast ance. But NBCC will be successful only if you, the grassroots activists, want it as badly as Fran Viso, the NBCC staff and Board of Directors. We will give you the tools. We implore you to use them over and over..as may times as it takes to change the breast cancer conversation from awareness to deadline with confidence to end breast cancer.  

Who are the people who change the conversation? Politicans, governments worldwide and corporations.

They are the people you would find compelling if you were talking to them in an airport lounge. They are the people who really understand the rules of conversation…
1)      They listen. The best politicians and the best brands are natural listeners.
2)      They have a point of view..
3)       Their stories are peppered with talking points

Barack Obama has a profoundly different vision for the future of America and the world.  He discusses different topics to his predecessor, and uses different words. He has changed the global conversation from isolation and pessimism to hope and inclusiveness.
3)      The best politicians choose the right moment to speak with greatest effect. They are aware of the symbolism of their choice of place and time. They find a central image that expresses their meaning simply, warmly. Can you remember what Barack Obama said in his Berlin speech? Probably not. Can you remember what he was symbolising by choosing to speak there? Yes.
4)      At best, they say and do things that people find remarkable, in the true sense of the word. They relate to popular culture. Their stories are the oxygen for conversation. They are what gets passed on.
5)      They carry on a dialogue. A great politician tells and re –tells stories that illustrate a point of view, flexing them to reflect contemporary events, cultural notes and evolving concerns of their listeners. They listen, and respond.



Rhode Island Breast Cancer Coalition (RIBCC)
PO Box 578 Coventry, RI 02816   |   Toll-free 800-216-1040