Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October Is Breast Cancer Industry Month

It seems to get worse every year. October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month is just a way for corporations to separate well-meaning people from their money. Breast Cancer Action calls this whole culture "empty awareness." Who on this planet is not "aware" of breast cancer - or been touched by it in some way? Awareness is not a cure. Pink appliances, pink shirts, pink football players, pink yogurt lids, pink buckets of fried chicken, and - now, wait for it - pink oil drilling bits do not cure cancer. Neither do the expensive treatments - cutting, burning, and poisoning. Um, I mean surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. These are not cures, they are barbaric treatments that may or may not save lives. What is guaranteed is that the medical community will continue to make money. 

The elephant in the room during this month is prevention. While prevention doesn't make anyone any money - and that is the legal purpose of corporations, to make money - it will save lives and misery. Scientists and health care professionals know that some substances and lifestyle choices increase the risk of cancer. Phthalates in cosmetics? BPAs in water bottles? Chemicals (benzene, etc.) from fracking in ground water? Pesticides and herbicides on produce? Unpronounceable ingredients in processed food ? Tobacco products? Avoid them! 

Shame on the Susan B. Komen Foundation for taking money from Baker Hughes, a company that fracks. At least Baker Hughes has had the decency to take down the pages about its pink partnership. Go to Breast Cancer Action or Ms. Magazine and then try the link (and to read more about pinkwashing). The link gone from the Baker Hughes web site. (You can also read more at Salon.)

As a side note, the New England Journal of Medicine published a Swiss study that found that mammograms do not prevent or reduce the risk of cancer (detection is not prevention), nor do they prolong life. The study concluded:
It is easy to promote mammography screening if the majority of women believe that it prevents or reduces the risk of getting breast cancer and saves many lives through early detection of aggressive tumors.4 We would be in favor of mammography screening if these beliefs were valid. Unfortunately, they are not, and we believe that women need to be told so. From an ethical perspective, a public health program that does not clearly produce more benefits than harms is hard to justify. Providing clear, unbiased information, promoting appropriate care, and preventing overdiagnosis and overtreatment would be a better choice.
If you want to learn more about the pink ribbon culture, I highly recommend watching Pink Ribbons, Inc. Here's a link to the trailer for this documentary.

Want to really help? Stop buying the overpriced, unnecessary, often carcinogenic products that sport the pink ribbon. As Breast Cancer Action points out, these campaigns are a distraction to the real work that needs to be done. And they make a pile of money for the corporation, as evidenced by Kohls' campaign that required customers to spend at least $5 million for the company to "donate" $1 million.

Instead, begin a campaign to educate your family,friends, and neighbors about choices they make that can cause cancer. If you really want to put money towards the cause, take what you would spend on that cute pink product (that you don't really need) and donate it all to Breast Cancer Action, an organization that is all about prevention and cure rather than medicate and accumulate (dollars that is).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Point on, Cherie.

When I read this, I immediately started looking for the subscribe button because anyone who speaks truth like this, well, I want to follow.

The following paraphrased thought is not original, I read it in a book by Barbara Ehrenreich, "Bright-Sided." It goes something like this:

Imagine a man at a doctor's office and being diagnosed with prostate cancer and handing him a baby blue teddy bear as he is leaving?

That pink thing makes me choke (for all the reasons you accurately state.)

We need voices like yours! Cheers, Terri

PS I came here after seeing your comment on An Exacting Life's "About" page.