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Unformatted text preview: 14 Feb. 15, 2006 Marketing News Its difficult to communicate a positive message about heart disease because theres so much shame associated with it. Cause marketing Cover story Verbatim: BY PAULA ANDRUSS I ts the No. 1 health-related killer of women. Theres a month devoted to its awareness. A colorful icon as its symbol. Races, walks, products and promotions raise funds for it, and community organizations and corpo- rate partnerships contribute millions of dollars for research. Think its breast cancer? Think again. So why do so many breast cancer organizations have women think- ing pink, when the more prevalent threat of heart disease should have them seeing red? Though heart disease kills roughly 12 times more women than breast cancer each year, breast cancer pro- grams continually overshadow the promotion of and dis- semination of information about heart disease. There are pink ribbons, pink products, pink ribbons on other prod- ucts and pink promotions for everything from toothbrush- es to automobile test drives. Many cities go so far as to light their buildings with a pink glow during October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Theres even a Stamp Out Breast Cancer postal stamp, which has raised roughly $50 million for breast cancer research. But even though many of those exact same promotions exist for womens heart health, the awareness, sponsorship and exposure levels arent even close. One of the main reasons that breast cancer has eclipsed heart disease as a womens issue is the fact that only recently has heart disease been considered more than just a mans disease, so heart advocates are playing catch-up with the breast cancer movement. But its not just a matter of sluggish marketing on the part of womens heart health: From the length of time breast cancer has been an issue to the emotionally charged nature of the disease, experts say the disparity is a result of several factors that simply make breast cancer issues easier to promote and keep in the public eye. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease claims the lives of about 500,000 women a year, more than the next six causes of death combined, including all cancers. Meanwhile, the Ameri- can Cancer Society estimates that nearly 41,000 women will die from breast cancer this year. Its not even the lead- ing cancer killer in women; lung cancer is. But those numbers are not reected in public awareness or perception. According to a 2005 study by the Society for Womens Health Research in Washington, D.C., of more than 1,000 adult U.S. women surveyed, only 9.7% said heart disease was the disease they feared most, while more than twice that number, 22.1%, said breast cancer was their biggest fear....
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