In The Breast Cancer Fight: Too Much Pink Or Just Right?

Pink ribbons, pink cars, pink football teams. Breast cancer “pink” is everywhere and some say it’s exploiting the fight. We’ll dig in.

Participants cheer before the start of the 5K Komen Boston Race for the Cure, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2003, in Boston.  Proceeds from the race will go towards breast cancer education and treatment.  (AP)

Participants cheer before the start of the 5K Komen Boston Race for the Cure in Boston. Proceeds from the race will go towards breast cancer education and treatment. (AP)

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means it’s the month of pink. Pink everywhere. Pink ribbons. Pink White House. Pink NFL football players and pink end zone markers. Pink products for sale of every conceivable form and function. Pink colanders and eyelash curlers.

Breast cancer pink and the millions who have rallied around it have brought tremendous awareness and openness and resources and care to what was for ages a hidden killer. But is it now too much? Some say so.

This hour On Point: we’re taking stock of the breast cancer pink campaign.

-Tom Ashbrook


Natasha Singer, reporter for the New York Times.

Karuna Jaggar, executive director of Breast Cancer Action.

Marisa Renee Lee, founder of The Pink Agenda.

Dr. Mark Pegram, breast oncologist; professor at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine; associate director of clinical research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “And not just the Cowboys. The entire Cowboys Stadium here. Pink is everywhere: around the goalposts, in the crowd, on the players’ cleats, towels and wristbands.”

MacLeans “Until the 1990s, breast cancer was thoroughly stigmatized and viewed as a private tragedy, and women with the disease were “victims,” which suggests passivity and perhaps inevitable death.”

ABC News “Cheerleaders at Gilbert High School in Gilbert, Ariz., can’t wear the pink t-shirts they bought to raise money for breast cancer research because the school’s administrators claim the slogan they bear is inappropriate.”

USA Today “Not surprisingly, given my role as a leader of the breast cancer movement, I say no. In my view, there’s still not enough pink when every 74 seconds a woman in the world dies of breast cancer — almost a half a million women this year globally.”

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