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No, I’m Not Going to Columbia for Six Months

Yoplait sparked controversy with a "mail in the lid" campaign. Yoplait had promised 10 cents a lid, but consumers would pay nearly four times that on the stamp to send one in. That’s money that could have just been given directly to breast cancer research. Second, Yoplait dairy products were made using artificial bovine growth hormones (called rBGH), which are thought to increase the risk of breast and colon cancers.

Yoplait sparked controversy with a "mail in the lid" campaign. Yoplait had promised 10 cents a lid, but consumers would pay nearly four times that on the stamp to send one in. That’s money that could have just been given directly to breast cancer research. Second, Yoplait dairy products were made using artificial bovine growth hormones (called rBGH), which are thought to increase the risk of breast and colon cancers.

If you are on Facebook perhaps you remember the bra color statuses?  And the purse locations?

Its back again.  And I’m annoyed.  Really. Not with the person who sent me the e-mail asking me to post “I’m going to Columbia for six months” in the name of breast cancer awareness…but with the whole pink-washing of our culture that has been going on since the pink ribbon debued in the early 1990’s and led to the New York Times dubbing breast cancer “this year’s hot charity” in 1996.

I will not participate. 

Why? Well first of all, unlike the bra color and purse location ideas…this one requires me to post a lie in my status.

But really, beyond that, is “awareness” really necessary? In America at least, you would have to have been in a coma for the past 15 years to not be “aware” of breast cancer. 

Breast Cancer Action’s Karuna Jaggar echoes these concerns.

In the beginning, the pink ribbon campaigns were part of solving a visibility problem, but today the pink ribbons are blinding us to the real issues,” Jaggar says. “The issue is no longer awareness, the issue is understanding the root causes of the disease. Awareness is often channeled into screening and mammography, with no recognition of the limits of mammography. Mammography is a tool, an important tool, but it is not the solution to the epidemic. It detects cancer after it has already occurred. Even women diagnosed early may die of the disease, and too often do.

A controversy brewed when high fat food was used to promote breast cancer awareness.

Many corporations have jumped onto the breast cancer awareness bandwagon not because they want to save lives…but because research has shown them that if they market themselves as supporting a cause that people believe in, 50% of consumers will purchase their product over a similarly priced and quality product that they had previously prefered.  So pink ribbons get slapped on products resulting in a minimal donation to breast cancer charities, or the products themselves contain chemicals that may contribute to health problems including breast cancer.

Heart disease kills more women than breast cancer. While 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with “invasive” breast cancer in their lifetimes, 1 in 3 women will die from heart disease. Can we get some awareness for that?

Breastfeeding can reduce a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer significantly (a study of Chinese women who breastfed for 6 years showed a 63% drop, several studies found a “dose response relationship,” meaning the longer you breastfeed, the lower your risk. I’ve breastfed for 10 years, what reduction does that give me?)…can we get some awareness of that? No, the American Cancer Society (ACS) says that promoting breastfeeding as a way to lower the risk of breast cancer is “impractical,” and they under-report its protective effect. 

Good diet (espeically optimizing vitamin D levels) and healthy living can help reduce the risk of breast cancer…we don’t hear about that…why? 

Delaying motherhood past the age of 30 increases the risk of breast cancer, but women are not told to consider this when deciding the best time to start a family.

Having an abortion* (and here) may more than triple the risk of developing breast cancer…we don’t hear about that…why?

Smoking increases the risk of developing breast cancer…why was my neighbor told that her smoking had nothing to do with her diagnosis?

Why is it that in 1995, before the start of the mass “awareness” push, approximately 44,000 women died of breast cancer in America, but in 2011 just under 40,000 died…hardly a huge drop for the massive amount of money that has been poured into the “awareness” campaign. Was any of that drop even due to “awareness?” The ACS said that a 10% drop in breast cancer cases between 2000 and 2004 was due to reduced use of hormone replacement therapy.

Why does the American Cancer Society (ACS) website not include ANY information about breast cancer prevention on its page about breast cancer?

I believe that the answer to all of these questions is that the ACS and Susan G. Komen are too busy being in the pocket of companies producing mamography machines and drugs to treat breast cancer to do much about promoting prevention.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is October, its January now…can we move on?

* It is important to note that medically speaking, a miscarriage is termed “abortion.”  Some studies do not differentiate between spontaneous abortions–what the public generally calls a “miscarriage,” and induced abortions–the use of medication or a medical procedure to end otherwise viable pregnancies.  Miscarriages, or spontaneous abortions, do not seem to have the same effect of raising breast cancer risk.  It is also important to note that in denying a link between abortion and breast cancer, the ACS is using an analysis from 2003 and has not updated this analysis in the light of newer research.

Posted in Home 7 years, 2 months ago at 2:43 pm.

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