In honor of the Army of Women Day , my post today takes a quick look at how the American public has been delivered various messages about cancer via posters and PSAs.
These two 1930s posters from the Library of Congress focus their message on convincing women to seek treatment from their doctor quickly and not fight their cancer alone.
By the 70s we got PSAs from organizations like the American Cancer Society, focusing on not smoking, doing self-exams and seeing your doctor for ‘regular cancer check-ups’. The clip below features Farrah Fawcett in 1981 (25 years before her own cancer diagnosis):
Almost 30 years later we have a new kind of video appeal. The Army of Women, a program of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, funded by a grant from the Avon Foundation for Women, is recruiting 1,000,000 women (and men!) of all ages and ethnicities to participate in studies to find the cause of breast cancer. Their PSA below recasts the challenge. Now, instead of living a healthy lifestyle and then seeking out doctors for diagnosis and treatment – we are asked to join forces with others to support doctors in their research the cause of breast cancer.
I lost my aunt to breast cancer. I have more friends and family who have fought breast cancer than I can count on one hand. I joined the Army of Women over a year ago.
What can you do?
- If you are over 18, sign up to join the Army of Women  database. The first step is to add your name to the pool of individuals willing to be contacted to hear about research projects in the future. It is free. You are not agreeing to participate in any specific project, just adding yourself to the list so researchers can find the subjects they need as fast as possible.
- Invite your friends and family  to join.
Help us reach a day when the only way that a woman can learn about what it was like to have breast cancer is from memoirs, documentaries and tear-jerker movies. I want to put cancer in the archives (forgive me.. couldn’t resist it!).
- Encouraging Participation in the Census 
- Records Speaking to the Present: Voices Not Silenced 
- October is American Archives Month 
- Archiving Women in Technology: A Tribute to Ada Lovelace