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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

Guests

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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  • Roy Mac

    There still is nothing to sneeze at about any kind of cancer, and I say that as the father of two daughters and as the widower of a cancer victim.  That said, breast cancer has become one of the best-researched diseases, and one that has become a nearly chronic condition; well-controlled with conventional treatment regimes.

    The “breast cancer industry” is sucking up research money that is desperately needed to combat other truly awful maladies such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s diseases.  The fight against breast cancer is largely won; it is time to confront other challenges.

    • Maproot

      Need to be talking with Barbara enreinheich about this
      Heart disease kills way more women than breast cancer
      Since susan moment had enough $ to take legal action against a small organization that used for the cure they perhaps have too much money

      Alcohol beverage companies even used pink to market though alcohol consumption may be a risk factor
      Every time I see the pink it makes me not respect the company

      More is spent on marketing

      Other cancers ovarian bone thyroid pancreatic are ignored
      The pink turns me off

      • Maproot

        Auto correct changed it to susan moment
        I meant susan komen!

    • Lana

      Don’t forget MS research in your list – apart from developing umpteen drugs – research into the cause to so that cure follows is essential!

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  • Meg Stafford

    The Hunt for (non)Pink October

     

    They may have had difficulty finding Red October, but these
    days, October is pink in every direction, supermarket and street corner and
    even the Patriots stadium. Just the mention of it the other day set my teeth on
    edge (not actually too great a challenge given my current state of braces). “Whoa,
    Mom,” my daughter cautioned me. “Still a little sensitive about this issue?”  She picked up immediately on the ire that
    rose swiftly and unbidden. “Wow. I guess I am,” I replied. I hadn’t realized
    how quickly the reminder of Pink October made my breath quicken and my
    annoyance surge.

     

    And why? What was it about pink colanders, pink newspapers,
    pink stripes on the road, and pink ribbons that made me want to rip something
    apart and utter a scream from deep within my throat?

     

    I would tell you that I’m not usually so reactive and short
    tempered, that I am generally pretty easy going and tolerant, but in this
    instance I cannot even seem to approach this demeanor. (which probably makes it
    some kind of misdemeanor). The thought of having to face the incessant stream
    of pink makes me want to hurl the most vile invectives at…at…well there’s part
    of the problem. At what or whom do I direct my irritation?

     

    My rational self wants only my gratitude to be evident.  After all, were it not for all the research
    and attention devoted to the treatment of breast cancer, I may not even have
    the luxury of expressing my multifaceted reaction. Shouldn’t my deepest thanks
    be foremost in my mind, and ahead of any other response? Ah, there’s that word
    that always complicates any sentence or thought. Should.

     

    And of course, I am deeply and abidingly in debt to the
    teams of people around the world, and in my own community who have directly and
    indirectly contributed to my own well being, physically, mentally, and
    emotionally. I never forget this, and hope I express it enough to the people
    around me who supported me during and after my lengthy treatment for breast
    cancer.

     

    However, if I allow myself to be completely truthful, I must
    admit that the non-stop reminders of Breast Cancer Awareness month sometimes
    make me ache with sadness and distress that there was a time when I was so
    deeply involved with it.  When my deepest
    wish was to NOT be reminded of it, and to live my life like everyone else, like
    I used to, I would balk at every key chain, cheerfully displayed soup can, and
    sign advertising ways to GET INVOLVED. I wanted so much to be NOT involved, to
    have moments of beautiful, freeing distance from the whole freaking mess, that
    all the positive pink-infused intention and caring went straight to my internal
    department of complaints.

     

    Spread throughout the year, and in smaller doses, I am able
    to be more graceful about the fact that I needed so much help, and had to depend
    on so many people for everyday kindnesses. Even though I am certain that my own
    discomfort far exceeds anyone’s feelings of burden about this, I am not yet
    able to take for granted that this is so.

     

    Thus, even though I am now well, and in many many ways “back
    to normal,” (not to say “in the pink”), October serves as a reminder that not
    only was I treated for a life threatening illness, but addition to my external
    scars, I am at greater risk than the general population for revisiting this
    issue.  Perhaps by releasing this little
    rant it will free me up to welcome the intent behind the month, instead of
    seeing red.

  • Cory

    Probably the only “downside”, if there is one at all, is that other cancers that could use this sort of attention aren’t getting it.  Prostate cancer comes to mind as a very common and dangerous variety that could use highlighting.  Hard to blame the pink people for this though, they are doing a bang up job. 

    Besides, it is inherently easier to get folks thinking about breasts than it is poop-chutes!

  • elis

    too much.  end of story.

  • Anonymous

    How much of the money actually goes to the research and how much to fundraisers or companies hawking pink products?

  • Susan

    As a breast cancer survivor I approach October with mounting anxiety/anger each year as the pink craze grows.  The final straw this year was my local edition of the Tab printed entirely on pink paper.  I appreciate that the Tab publisher and others want to support me and the many others who are survivors or currently struggling with this scary illness, but they have been misinformed if they think everyone likes gestures like this. 
        Breast cancer is a terrible disease but frankly, there are many worse cancers, and I’m sure those who have these other cancers would like to have some of the publicity we receive.  It seems like the Susan Komen folks have gotten out of hand.  How about putting some (more?) of their funds into basic research rather than overboard outreach and publicity which is beginning to look a little self-serving.

    • Lucy

      My 12 year old son was diagnosed with bone cancer, lost a leg, and has dealt with this for 4 years with still a poor prognosis.  I don’t belittle what anyone with any serious illness goes through – my mom and grandma both had BC so I probably will too, but it will be a walk in the park for me compared to the pain of seeing my kid (and others like him) suffer.  I only hope some of the money the pink campaign filters to discoveries that help BC patients as well as those dealing with other cancers and other diseases. 

  • http://en-gb.facebook.com/onanov Donald Baxter

    Pink marketing: wrong and bad, together!

  • barent

    you’ve been co-opted by pharma. the money goes to the same people, who run the same idiotic, drug centric paradighm. these are the neanderthals of medical orthodoxy,who do not look at nutrition, in any real, in depth, constructive way. are basically anti-supplement,or, only accept very small doses as being viable. they down play enviornmental toxins: living close to a  nuclear plant,cell phone radiation,microwaved food,food additives,GMO-frankenfood,bovine growth hormone dairy,pesticides. they call cancer screening, “prevention” really,how so ?  a screening, is at best, a detection device,and, a very crude one at that,that can only detect a growth,once it has gotten to be a rather big problem.  what in the hell, has that got to do with “prevention”?!  steve jobs,unfortunately,did what a lot of famous people do;ravage their immune systems with toxic orthodox therapy,then at the end make some furtive overtures towards a holistc therapy,and dies anyway. which then  prompts the sock-puppet media fools, to conclude that alternative therapy, does not work. lets not forget, that the u.s. and new zealand,are the only countries that advertize prescription drugs on t.v……… and, oh by the way,when you listen to the side effects,read in that sick rushed stage whisper, at the end of the ad,what is often listed, as one of the “side effects”…yes ,cancer…. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    What if the Scientist WORK FOR FREE. to the people who support cancer and been doing these marching thing for Ages.

    Where is the money and where did it go? To all people who are supporting cancer research. Your money is not going to find the cure for Breast Cancer. There is no way of stopping cancer. It is mankind’s permanent sickness – I am sorry to say that.

    Decades of giving money to research and education will not find the cure for the uncurable disease like cancer.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Cancer is “un”curable?  If you take a fatalistic attitude toward it, then yes, it is.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    I rather die with cancer than seeing the world crumble in my life time.

    It is better to be dead than to force yourself to live.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Any plans to do this soon?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        If I have cancer. I will

        • Tina

          FAX68, You seem to be setting up an either/or dichotomy.  Many people LIVING WITH cancer are still WORKING to try to stop the world from crumbling.  Were they no longer here, their contribution would be missing.  

  • barent

    i see your guest list, has all the “requisite”, mainstream orthodox people. even on “public” radio[yeah right, a million and one corporate underwritten bucks,oh so public].  don’t expect anything other, than standard status quo bull, from them.  NYT, has always been behind the curve, on this field.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Who else do you want to hear?

  • Mia

    Thanks for covering this important women’s health issue! I’ve written about pinkwashing in both academic outlets-”Environmental Justice,” entitled Pastel Injustice: The Corporate Use of Pinkwashing for Profit. -  and online at Forbes.com.  I urge people to Think Before They Pink and companies to make sure that their cause-marketing is genuine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    Why is it that groups such as Susan G Kormen for the Cure are able to copyright events and titles related to the fight against breast cancer? It seems like these groups have become more concerned with making money and spreading their “good name” than with working towards a cure.

  • Nutricj

    Among the many egregious aspects of the pink commercializing of the CRAB, the most difficult to absorb is the unfortunate fact that all of the hoopla on breast cancer actually does direct finanical preference for research interests, grants, public concern, university focus and so on by the hundreds of millions of $$, which forces the interests away from much of the other needed attention areas, such as osteosarcomas, melanomas, prostate cancer, ovarian, and more.

  • SK

    Barbara Ehrenreich has an interesting chapter about the  pink campaign in her book “Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America.”  She writes about her experience as a breast cancer patient, too. She argues that cancer rates in industrialized countries have been on a steady increase, and Komen focuses on cure and does not put enough advocacy behind investigating the root causes of cancer. 

    • Nutricj

      Yes, we need to look to cause and lifelong prevention and the pink distorts and shifts our focus away from what is really needed.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I’m tired of hearing about “raising awareness.”  Please, I’m aware.  So?  Don’t raise awareness; get out and do something about the problem.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Interesting–football players are as inane on the subject of cancer as they are about their sport in interviews.

  • Michael

    Lisa Kessler, a Boston-based documentary photographer explores this in her exhibit “Seeing Pink.” “Seeing Pink” is an exploration into the idea of the color pink in
    America. The documentary photographs interpret the myriad connotations
    we attach to pink, a color burdened by dogma. The Globe ran a story about Kessler’s work in July 2010. Lisa will be at the Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA tomorrow to discuss her work on “Seeing Pink” and the ideology associated with the color pink.  http://www.lisakessler.net/gallery.php?ProjectID=2

  • nj

    It looks like these kinds of efforts have become their own, self-sustaining industry. There are many critiques out there. Typical: http://justwestofcrunchy.com/2011/06/03/susan-g-komen-for-the-cure-isnt-curing-anything/
    One thing that bugs me about these do-good walks and bikes, etc.: Why not get pledges from people and actually have them do something useful, in the way that Habitat for Humanity actually builds houses.People walk for an afternoon, ride a bike, or wear a pink ribbon and pretend they’re doing something useful. It seems more like it’s an easy way for them to feel good about themselves, and less about doing something that’s actually useful.

    • nj

      Arrgh! The Discus Line-space-Eating Monster strikes again!

  • Guest

    My granny had breast cancer and I fully support raised education and research for a cure. BUT – doesn’t heart disease kill more women? Why isn’t that in the forefront instead of pink?

    I saw an interesting episode of Penn and Teller’s Bullshit a couple years ago about breast cancer. It was an interesting perspective on how we are over the top about breast cancer awareness and pink because it’s a way to talk about breasts and it’s a ‘sex sells’ kinda attitude. I’m curious where all the money goes!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The supposedly charitable acts of corporations have no effect on my spending.  I buy what I need and want, without reference to the decorations on the packaging.

    When we get serious about preventing and curing disease, I’ll listen to the plan.

  • Michael Sacco

    The Onion has just reported that all breast cancer awareness walks have been cancelled because everyone is aware. Let’s give the money directly to those in need ,not mid-level execs.

    • Guest

      haha – I love the Onion

  • Bill

    People need to make themselves aware of what they are buying and donating to.

    To tie the first half of the show to this half, there are plenty of corporations and individuals that will use “pink” to rip people off – and they won’t go to jail, either.

  • John Myers

    At risk of ‘blaming the victim’, breast cancer and many other cancers are almost certainly the result of chronically elevated glucose/insulin levels in the American diet.
    I’m just repeating Gary Taubes – the science journalist who has researched this probably more than anyone else.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      A journalist, eh?  Was he published in a medical journal with peer review?

      • John Myers

        As you would imagine, no. He has been published several times in the New York Times magazine, Science, and his books are published by Knopf. Any of those count?

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          I mean something like the New England Journal of Medicine–peer reviewed medical journals.

          • John Myers

            Not to my knowledge.

  • Anonymous

    It is too much. There are so many other issues nationwide that need attention and public money.  Has anyone read the BBC report on child abuse in America. ”
    “More than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members in the last 10 years, nearly four times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
     
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15288865
     
    We could name many other needy causes that also lack public awareness and funding. Breast Cancer is a horrible disease, but it’s trumping and dwarfing other important issues in the country. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      I heard about that SO SAD not only that almost 250 children dissappeared each month in America.

  • Brian

    Equal time for Testicular Cancer Research? Never. The Breast Cancer Awareness campaign is a perpetual cause detracting from what a horror cancer is by packaging it as a fashion accessory.

    • Anonymous

      What color should the testicular cancer awareness codpieces be?

  • Elaine Dunn

    Enough!!!!!!!!!!  I used to like Pink.Now the color makes me sick. I watched my little sister die of Metastasized breast cancer.  She fought the disease with tremendous strength and fervor.  She NEVER adorned herself in PINK.  Where did the 1/2 a billion go??????  Retail joints?  Or to the suffering?  Where is the cure?  Have we created a giant Pink elephant in the name of Pink profits?!?!?! My little sister never bought  into the Pink thing.  Maybe she knew something the rest of us didn’t.  Pink just makes me sad.  Oct. and Nov. just make me sadder.  Where is our cure?  Where do the women without insurance and health insurance get help???  Let’s reign in this giant pink elephant and get back to basics……out reach, education and research.  

  • andrea

    The branding is quite lame — pink as a brand. Lame. I am not knocking the message!!! But really, this is the boy – blue, girl – pink throwback and it makes me ill. I wouldn’t buy sneakers that have pink so I wouldn’t support this “brand” because of that, even tho I do support the cause.

    • Nutricj

      can’t tell you how many men with breast cancer have made comments (can’t repeat here) on their “feelings” about all the pink. many of the adult men are (their own words) “embarrassed” to admit their type of cancer because of all the jokes and pink gifts they must endure.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Raise money and raise awareness–to what purpose?

    By the way, pink wine?  Gag!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Every one is Aware of cancer. Raise money for what research. even we don’t raise money Scientist or NIH still research to find the cure for cancer.

  • Meg Berlin

    I wish the following: that everything in America was not always prey to commercialism, but more importantly we need to look at some fundamental causes like pervasive pesticides (10s of thousands) and chemicals in our food, water, and air.  

  • BHA in Vermont

    Do the execs at Coca-Cola and all the other corporate ‘sponsors’  do it because
    1) They want to find a cure for breast cancer
    or
    2) Because they can hook their wagon to the movement and get a lot of ‘feel good’ advertizing CHEAP?

    I won’t be at all surprised to find the answer is #2.

  • Lisa R

    I’d rather take a walk on the light side of all of this.  As a breast cancer survivor, it was important to me to find the funny.  So I teamed up with two other survivors and  a comedy about breast cancer –  yes you read that right – called ‘The MOMologues: Pink Ribbon Overdose.’ And sure, there is a scene where the characters poke fun at all the ridiculous things that are pink ribbon these days, in a loving way.  And we hopefully help our fellow survivors heal by looking for laughs in unlikely places. 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Since the question has been raised, please have some discussion on the causes of breast cancer and make it based on verified science.

  • Laura

    I work as a freelance journalist and have covered the connection between chemical exposure (those found in our personal care products and hormones in our food) and breast cancer. Yet, this is still rarely spoken of in the mainstream media or among pink ribbon sponsors. Not only that, many companies that bear the pink ribbons actually continue to use the chemicals/hormones that studies have connected with breast cancer (cosmetics companies that contain parabens and pthalates; yogurt companies that continue to use RBgH) ignoring the requests by breast cancer advocacy groups for them to phase out these ingredients in their products. 

    Another critique is that the pink ribbon focuses only on the cure, and completely ignore prevention (minimizing chemical exposure). A cure may never be achieved in our lifetimes, yet we already have enough scientific knowledge about what chemicals are known or likely carcinogens to really make a difference in lowering exposure and minimizing the amount of new cases.  

    • reagan

      Is this Laura Keisel? If so, I was going to put this show on your wall. 

  • Lana

    DO NOT downplay mammography!  My mother had her first mammogram – at my urging – at 69.  She had stage 4 breast cancer.  With mastectomy and chemo she survived and has been cancer free since then for a survival of 11 years. 

    The arguments in this show are so trivial – anything that helps womens health is GOOD!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Except if they use the COLOR PINK TO CURE CANCER and Exlpoiting that color to make profit or to donate money by using Pink.

      Your mother survive because mammograpghy etc etc treatments not because of the color pink.

    • Nutricj

      thermography is a much safer way of detection for the future. mammography will hopefully disappear as more clinics get their epuipment updated.

  • Mia

    http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5500/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8488

    Ask P&G to Stop Using Chemicals Linked to Breast Cancer

    Surely
    you noticed that October is breast cancer awareness month; you can’t
    miss the deluge of pink ribbons everywhere, including the cosmetics
    aisle.
    Case in point: Procter & Gamble’s cosmetics division is making a
    big deal this month about supporting early breast cancer detection, an
    important issue. But we think P&G should start with prevention by
    promising to stop using chemicals linked to cancer in its products.
    According to the Skin Deep database, P&G still uses parabens – in particular, methylparaben – in hundreds of its Cover Girl, Max Factor, Infusium and other products.
    Parabens are compounds widely used as antimicrobial preservatives in
    cosmetics products. They’re also estrogen mimickers, and have been found in breast tumors.
    A new study
    found that methylparaben can not only cause healthy breast cells to
    behave like cancer cells, but also interfere with the effectiveness of
    tamoxifen, an important breast cancer drug.
    Use the form below to tell P&G that if the company really wants
    to do something about breast cancer, it should stop using methylparaben
    and other chemicals linked to cancer or hormone disruption in any of its
    products.

  • Diane

    These pink companies can’t have it both ways. They can’t sell products that contribute to breast cancer and slap a pink ribbon on the package. By the way, Koman spends millions on lawyers to protect the use of the words ‘the cure’.

  • Guest

    I think it all needs to step back from the commercialization and we need a paradigm shift to focus on overall public health literacy. But maybe marketing and commercialization is the only way to get a broad public awareness. There are so many public health issues that we need awareness about! Perhaps the pink campaign can serve as a model for raising awareness about larger health issues.

  • Bill

    This is an awesome site: http://breastcancerstories.org/

  • Will Churchill

    Cancer and high fat diets of Western nations have been shown to have strong links. What are cancer organizations doing to help fight the root causes associated with diet? Lobbying the USDA, etc.?

    • John Myers

      Andorrans have the longest life expectancy, and their diet largely consists of cured meats and cheeses.

      • Nutricj

        they are not using synthetic preservatives in their curing, they are not using dyes, trans fats, artificial ingredients in their foods. they are not eating their cheese from sick, obeses dairy cows fed grain- their cows eat grass so their meats are high in omega fatty acids and their food is more pure and their fats are not manipulated. the Sardinians have the highest percentage of active, working centenarians on earth. they eat a primarily medit. diet: lots of veggies, olives, wine everyday, they stay active and social and occasionally have meats and dairy in smaller amounts. the japaneses would live longest if they did not not smoke. that’s primarily rices, greens from both land and sea, fish and occasional meats.

        • John Myers

           So we can agree that a high fat diet isn’t the problem? The problem is sick cows and chemicals?

          • Nutricj

            i totally agree. if we eat sick animals, we get sick. if we eat non-food chemically laden processed products, we get sick. grass fed beef, or wild elk, deer, etc. have fabulous fatty acid profiles, just like wild salmon. the industrialization of our food supply is what i rage against. and also, i teach fat is good- our brains could not think without it for one thing. and personally, i don’t want to live without wine and cheese ;-)

          • Dniethamer

            Absolutely

      • Dniethamer

        Reasons why some cultures can eat high meat high fat diets and still be healthy:
        - the animals they eat are grass-fed, and thus have a balance of fats that are healthy for us to eat
        - they eat a traditional diet, that has other foods in it that balance out their diet so that their bodies can properly use the fats they eat
        - they are also eating fresh and fermented vegetables
        - there are other differences in lifestyle (healthy exercise, different stress levels, etc.)

        Local, organic, humanely-raised, free-range, grass-fed animals are part of the solution.

        • John Myers

          No. The reason is they aren’t drinking Gatorade, thinking it’s a fitness beverage. They aren’t eating Wonder bread and jelly Sandwiches. The base of their food pyramid doesn’t consist of bread, that once ingested, the body cannot distinguish from sugar.

    • Lisa

      Our organization is trying to spread the word about healthy and inexpensive ways to reduce risks of breast cancer. Please see http://www.knowbreastcancer.net

  • Nutricj

    ALL CANCERS SUCK. the ealier speaker on radio is incorrect, every cyclist i know wears “cancer sucks” gear- it does so sell- – at least they donate to many many organizations and research institutes. that includes breast cancer research, but also many other cancer fighting groups.

  • Ida Simmons

    Since President Nixon declared the war on cancer in the ’70s, we’ve spent BILLIONS (do the math) on research for a cure.  Surely, all that money should have bought us a CURE by now.
    Ida Simmons

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      i love it. very true.

      Nixon want the Pharma and HMO to get rich. Remember Kaiser Permanente.

    • pearl

      The only real (and cost-effective) cure will be one associated with  eliminating causative agents.  Buy organic.

  • Lana

    Orange is the color to fight MS, by the way…since it was mentioned.  MS compromises the immune system so being doubly hit is something not unheard of but is it researched. 

    Research dollars, like wall street dollars, should be regulated better so that the research actually yields results!!!

  • Modavations

    We hate and loathe big Pharma,but thanks for creating the wonder drugs

  • Hilve Firek

    I used to teach high school, and “breast cancer awareness month” was an excuse for the boys to behave like, well, adolescent boys. Instead of ribbons, they would wear hand-written buttons that said things like, “I love boobies.” The seriousness of the issue was lost in meaningless “wear pink” days.

  • Macy

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33. A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with metastatic disease. (BTW I ate a very healthy diet, didn’t smoke, and exercised a lot). I find the profit making disgusting. I am glad to hear that the Komen foundation has retooled their research arm. I think there is not enough attention paid to the reality of breast cancer, that despite early detection and mammograms plenty of women (and men) still die of this disease. The pink ribbon campaign is a little too “feel good”. Cancer does suck and thinking that all we need is awareness and warm fuzzy feelings is wrong.

    • Lisa

      Hi Macy, It must be devastating to have breast cancer at such an early age, or at any age for that matter. I agree with you wholeheartedly about the pink campaign….it doesn’t accomplish anything but put money in people’s pockets, not saving lives.

      I am part of an organization that is making a whole paradigm shift in the way we look at breast cancer. http://www.knowbreastcancer.net is an organization focusing on prevention not profits. There are healthy and inexpensive ways to help reduce one’s risks. Vitamin D3 deficiencies have been linked to breast cancer, for instance. I welcome you to take a look at our site for more information. 

      Best wishes in your journey of recovery. 

  • Miryam Wiley

    I am a breast cancer survivor and will do anything I can to avoid the pink campaign. A nurse pointed me to the article: Welcome to Cancerland by Barbara Ehrenheich, available via the Internet, which really made sense to me. 
    Pink it all and sell a lot, so what? Where is the real awareness?

    While I have done the mainstream treatments, I am not sure that is the path we should be taking because there is a sense of industry in all of it.

    I have a certificate in Plant-based nutrition from the T. Collin Campbell Foundation and can tell you that there is PLENTY of evidence that plant foods will help our immune system and fight the cancer cells. 
     
    Also, the chemicals in our toiletries and the whole environment, can definitely add to the numbers of people with the disease.  

    I will wear pink if the funds go to the Environmental Working Group and the local organic farms that will save us !!

    • Nutricj

      You Rock Miryam!!! I wish everyone would read Anticancer: A New Way Of Life and EWG is wonderful.

    • Lisa

      Amen! Look at Meg Wolff’s from Maine and her story of surviving both bone and breast cancer after radically changing her diet to a plant based diet. 

      We at http://www.knowbreastcancer.net are focusing on known, probable and possible causes of breast cancer. It’s worth taking a look.

      There has been a lot of research in a link between vit. d3 deficiencies and cancer. Make sure your levels are up to 60/80 ng/ml.

      Congratulations on your progress and upbeat attitute. The EWG is wonderful. I am always looking at their site.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The manufactured earnestness of the musical selections is revolting.

    • Anonymous

      You need some pink earplugs.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        And the black earmuffs that I wear at the range. . .

        • Michele

          Turn the dial.

  • Rex

    I know this is a delicate subject, but is there a licensing team to regulate “official” breast cancer awareness?  Selling licenses would not only ensure that everyone promoting their product/event under the breast cancer awareness “marketing strategy” is in it for the right reasons, but it would also generate revenue for research.

  • Stillin

    I hate pink. I hate the whole pink thing that they market with this. I know hate is a strong word, not supposed to be use it, nobody wants to be a hater, hating on. I hate pink.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      I hate marketing in general, so I’m with you.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Light pollution?  Red alert–here comes the wackos!

    • Cburnham82

      Why is it always easier for someone to toss out an insult rather than consider and dig a little deeper?

      • Anonymous

        Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle. 

    • Eric

      Greg, I do believe that you need to do more digging. 

      The International Agency of Research on Cancer, a division of the U.N.’s World Health Org., defines circadian disrupting night shift work as being a “probable carcinogenic”, which puts it in their same carcinogenic classification as UV radiation exposure from tanning beds, Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus/human herpes virus, inorganic lead compounds, creosotes and diesel engine exhaust.

      The American Medical Association put out their Resolution 516 to oppose light pollution which includes the reason that “Light trespass has been implicated in disruption of the human and animal circadian rhythm, and strongly suspected as an etiology of suppressed melatonin production, depressed immune systems, and increase in cancer rates such as breast cancers; and Whereas, Light trespass disrupts nocturnal animal activity and results in diminished various animal populations’ survival and health”.

      Finally, the American Cancer Society, has included night shift work as a risk factor for breast cancer.  They state on their Detailed Guide to Breast Cancer: “Several studies have suggested that women who work at night — for example, nurses on a night shift — may have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. This is a fairly recent finding, and more studies are looking at this issue. Some researchers think the effect may be due to changes in levels of melatonin, a hormone whose production is affected by the body’s exposure to light, but other hormones are also being studied.”

      There is a Finnish study that found that blind women had HALF the breast cancer rate as fully sighted women did.  Dr. David Blask and his group found that injecting melatonin-depleted blood taken from premenopausal women who were exposed to light at night into human breast cancer tumors that were transplanted into rats had stimulated the growth of the tumors.

      I believe that most people are aware that smoking is strong risk factor to lung cancer.  Yet, the number of people that are affected by the smoker’s decision to smoke, include themselves and family members. 

      Light pollution is pervasive throughout industrialized society.  It is brought on by governments and commercial interests. It is hard to escape even if you tried.  And it has been documented to be growing globally at nearly a 6% growth rate a year, meaning its amount doubles every 11-12 years.

      Light is a biological trigger for our circadian systems, specifically bluish light.  And I believe that it is something that our engineers, architects and city planners are ignorant of as they plan, design and build the society that we live in.

  • Blair

    Is it time to pay more attention to other less-”sexy” cancers?  Lung cancer is the number two killer, but receives less than a fifth of funding as breast cancer.  Is it going overboard when breast cancer receives $150 million in funding from the Department of Defense, yet has a five-year survival of 89%?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Alas, lung cancer is easily preventable.

      • Blair

        80% of lung cancer is diagnosed in people who are former or never-smokers.  Remember, since this is a disease most prevalent in 60+ population, we’re dealing with folks that had no idea they were killing themselves in the 60′s and 70′s.  

        • Nutricj

          most cancers are diagnosed in the aging and elderly which is why we refer to many cancers as “exposure diseases” and why we should believe in prevention. if we can avoid as much exposure as we can as we are aging, we just may have the upper hand later.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NPFHUE7RBAWGCOQNRQTBSS47SE jaime

        Tell that to Dana Reeves. Never smoked.

        • Nutricj

          but she did work in many smoke filled performance halls for many years as a singer/performer. she falls into the occupational exposure category.

    • Lisa

      I understand why you say looking into “less sexy cancers”….however, breast cancer is the leading cancer in women by a very high percentage, and that is why there is so much focus on it. 

  • Rosalinda

    My mother was a 40+ year breast cancer survivor. My sister died of breast cancer at age 43. I have been a breast cancer advocist over a decade. The bottom line: There is NO CURE for breast cancer. There is NO PREVENTION for breast cancer. Little has changed since my mother or sister has changed in breast cancer treatment. The ‘Pink’ campaign is dangerous in that people believe mammograms are effective tools for diagnosis and that breast cancer is curable.

    • Dniethamer

      The prevention for these cancers is real, but very hard to achieve. It includes cleaning up our environment, eating organically, eating tons of fresh vegetables, exercising in a healthy way. It also includes huge changes in our lifestyles. For example, stop making and using plastics that kill us. Stop using toxic chemicals in our cosmetics. Stop using toxic dyes in our clothing. Other things are more complex. Does our electric lighting cause cancer? Do cell phones cause cancer? Do electrical fields cause cancer? We need to fund some unbiased, open-minded, well designed research into these and other questions. This methods of prevention are NOT things that we can do as individuals. They have to be tackled by society.

      • Rosalinda

        all these ‘environmental causes’ may very likely be the culprits – but without understanding scientifically what causes all the types of breast cancer there is NOT going to be a prevention or a cure.

  • chrisburgan

    I don’t hate pink.  I lost my mother to lung cancer at the age of 52.  Yes she was a smoker, which is a poor health choice.  However, i feel that the Pink movement almost vilifies other cancer victims.  I feel that it was “my mom’s fault” she got cancer.  
     

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Come to think of it if you are religious and you think God gave you that sickness like cancer.

    Will you accept that or fight the sickness that God gave you? Because you are afraid of dying.

    They said in Asia you rather be afraid of the living than the dead.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Any deity who gives me a disease is my enemy.

  • Dniethamer

    The pink campaign focuses our attention on the cure, making us feel that we are some how in control of this awful disease. But this is misleading.

    We need to focus on the cause. We do not want to hear that our food, our air, our water is so poisoned. We do not want to hear that perhaps our cell phones, our lights, and other tools of modern living are causes. We do not want to hear it because it was so overwhelming. And corporations do not want to hear this because they do not want to stop making cheap, toxic products. How can we possibly make the huge changes that make our world safe?

    But if you have a family member that has died, you will ask yourselves instead, How can we NOT?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Finally, someone who is doing real work on this subject.  Where was Dr. Pegram forty-five minutes ago?

  • pearlpotter

    I agree with a caller on air shortly ago, all this pink/breast cancer awareness feels to me like everyone is just jumping on this bandwagon.
    Breast cancer is a terrible diagnosis, but I believe the survival rate is on average about 90%, there are many cancers for which the survival rate is essentially zero. where is the outrage for these?
    and yes, I have a personal stake in this, my husband died last year from a rare form of thyroid cancer, for which there is no real treatment, and virtually no one lives past a year….
    Let’s put effort into all kinds of cancer treatment and prevention.

    • Lisa

      I agree completely! We at http://www.knowbreastcancer.net are looking at prevention NOT profits….after 5 plus years of extensive international research, Susan Wadia-Ells, Founder of Know Breast Cancer (soon to be known as Busting Breast Cancer: Prevention Not Profits), has found several factors in what causes breast cancer. Please visit the website for more info. Vitamin D3 deficiencies is one leading cause – and it so easy and inexpensive to reverse. We will be doing educational seminars town by town, starting with Essex County as it has one of the highest breast cancer rates in MA and therefore in the world! A book is forthcoming on the topic – Busting Breast Cancer: Prevention NOT Profits

  • Rosalinda

    Re Dr. Mark Pegram – Per his discussion on mammograms – leading to an earlier cure – misleading! many types of breast cancer have NO CURE and the people die – they just know earlier…..

  • Cleo

    I used to find the “pink” movedment to be positive as it raised awareness and helped remove the stigma attached to the diagnosis- but  that perception changed swiftly when I saw a tv commercial for KFC announcing the fast food chain’s affiliation with Komen.  When Komen is affiliating with companies whose products contribute to the cause of all sorts of illnesses, it is high time to raise the bull@#$% flag on them.  Their response to why they formed the affiliation with KFC was even more enraging- they claimed that it gave them the opportunity to reach “underserveds” (tranlate: minorities and the poor, who are most likely to consume KFC).  Great job Komen, validate the horrible diet that contributes to cancer, causes obesity and advocates the torture of million of animals daily, by sticking a pink ribbon on it. 
    And that is just the tip of the iceberg… how about the genius behind the “I love boobies” campaign???  Idiotic and insulting, particularly to women with breast cancer who have undergone mastectomy and no longer have “boobies.” Komen may do some very good things, but at the very least they have some not too bright people steering the ship.

    • Dniethamer

      So, so true. Doesn’t it make you angry??

    • Nutricj

      it’s just like the american dietetic association affiliating itself with aspartame and acesulfame potassium production. they tell us these things are safe while they take money from the producers for grants for the registered dietician programs. they know these chemicals are not meantt for consumption.

    • Lisa

      When I started singing unhealthy products with the pink ribbon on them, that’s when I really questioned the Komen organization. I met Susan Wadia-Ells, founder of Know Breast Cancer (soon to be Busting Breast Cancer), and everything she has researched about known, probable and possible causes all made sense to me. Please see our website http://www.knowbreastcancer.net for inexpensive, healthy ways to reduce risks of breast cancers. There are ways to lower risks. A recent study by oncologists showed that cancer patient all had a vitamin D3 deficiency. ….interesting….this is one of the ways to reduce breast cancer risk – make sure your levels are 60/80 ng/ml – supplements when you can’t be in the sun for 30 minutes or so without sunscreen. Our bodies naturally produce Vit. D3 with the right amount of sun exposure…supplements are safe and easy way to bring up your levels. Please visit out site for more info. Thanks!

  • Ann Marie Joyce

    The listener who called in suggesting focus on prevention vs. cure is right on. This medical issue, like many others, has been confiscated by the pharmaceutical companies, which consistently dictates how the medical community approaches this and many other diseases.

    I recall some years ago reading an oped in The Globe by Dr. Susan Love lamenting the fact that researchers could get little or no money unless their research was directed to developing a drug.It is ironic that all the “pinking” of products, etc., relies heavily on dyes that are, like many other things, carcinogen suspects as  are many of the products that are sold with the ubiquitous pink ribbon.  Because of all of this, I give no money to any cancer research as I think it simply fuels a huge conglomerate. My dark side says why would they want to find a cure, it is such big business today.Ann-Marie JoyceBraintree, MA

    • John Myers

       I think this point is so important. Once the researchers find a mechanism for a disease, instead of turning to prevention they go on to research how to derail the mechanism with a drug. They invent a “Drug Target”.

      • John Myers

        here’s a great illustration of this:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEqhar40TVw
        (please watch – it’s star-studded!)

        • John Myers

          (it’s at about 3 minutes in the video if you don’t want to watch the whole two videos)

          • The man from UNKLE

            As a cancer researcher at a world renowned institute, I agree with you. 

            Maybe it’s just the intrinsic next part of the scientific method…. to get the mechanism, induce it (ie. the cellular/molecular transformation which permits the pathology), break it down and then try to develop a “one-hit” remedy.

  • Chris

    I am so tired of hearing about cancer, and seeing pink products everywhere.  I have lost my share of loved ones to cancer, but I don’t see how buying pink stuff can save anybody.  Why do we need more money for research, when as a society we have done nothing about what we already know causes cancer?  I’m talking about nitrates in deli meats, benzoates in our beauty products, as well as hundreds of other scientifically proven cancer causing chemicals which are in our air, water, food, and other multiple products we use daily.  Some of these products, ironically, come in pink packages this month. 

    • GMG

      Great comment.  I think this applies in many fields.  

      For example, if you look at the thousands and thousands of research papers on climate change and compare that to what we are actually doing about it, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that research is simply documenting the effects of policy, while doing nothing to change it.  

      Sure, it’s good to document things, but, alas, not very helpful in actually solving the problem.  Especially in an era where politicians don’t give a damn about evidence anyway, believing what they want even if there is no evidence for it (e.g., voter fraud), and not believing the things for which there are, literally, truckloads of evidence in the form of scientific research results.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    To the young pink lady, your statement “just try to get a bunch of young professionals together for charity without alcohol” Sounds like you should begin collecting money for AA chapters in the area.

  • Brett

    Charitable organizations use marketing techniques to “raise awareness” (awareness that said organization needs donations for research, to cover administrative costs, and so on…I get that. As ubiquitous as the ribbon approach is these days, I am particularly tired of seeing large corporations and retail outlets use those same ideas of charity and community to hawk consumer products. So many times this past summer I saw things like “Coca Cola supports our troops!” Or, “buy a hot dog and fries and a percentage of your purchase goes to breast cancer research!” …It’s disgusting, but then most marketing is shamelessly deceptive in some way.   

  • Mmasse

    I find the whole Pink thing symptomatic of a culture bent on passivity and consumption. We blindly accept a flood of pesticides and pollution and then wear pink to show our solidarity against the disease. There is something about it that implies “pretty, passive and pathetic”. No, I am not a Pink fan.  MAybe purple would be a better color-Red for angry and Blue for sad. 

    If the small “c” is for cancer and the bigger “C” is for cure, how about a focus and FUNDING for the biggest “C”, Cause?

    Have you ever interviewed Dr. Sandra Steingrabber? She is a brilliant environmental toxicologist, author, articulate speaker and cancer “survivor”? I believe she is still at Cornell and Woods Hole Laboratories.

    • Lisa

      There is an organization that I am a part of http://www.knowbreastcancer.net which is looking at spreading the word on all known, probable and possible causes of breast cancer. We will be offering educational discussions one town at a time…..starting with the Essex County Busting Breast Cancer Initiative. It’s worth looking into. Check out our website. http://www.knowbreastcancer.net

    • ladybugny

      LIKE is not strong enough for my feelings of agreement here!!!

  • Shag9y

    http://www.colonicexpert.com

    It’s about the constipation man.  First about the poisons in farming, then poisons in the liver, then constipation, then lymphatic stoppage, then breast cancer.  No “scientific study” gets this, never will.  “Pink” funds the pharmaceuticals and there is no overlap with the real study, hence no overlap with the causes, never will.  Just a health flow of $$.

  • barent

    INSANITY

  • pg

    Last week I commented to someone that if I heard the name “Susan G. Komen” one more time I might scream. I am a woman. I have two sisters, two daughters and two granddaughters. My mother died of Breast Cancer when she was only 53 with three children ages 14-20, still at home. My youngest daughter has worked in Cancer research at Children’s since the mid 1990′s. So I am certainly not anti-breast cancer cures. But, I have had many family members, friends and co-workers die or suffer from diseases of the mind, eyes and heart, that receive much less attention. More women die from heart or lung disease, than breast cancer. I would like to see most of the funds used for research, to understand how to prevent diseases, and for every diseases to receive the respect and attention that Breast Cancer does. Maybe there should be one medical fund with the money divided according to the percentages of people who carry the disease.

  • ForgetMeNot

    Awareness has nothing to do with ‘pink’. 

    Who isn’t aware of breast cancer?  Whose family has not been affected by it?

    The branding and glorification of a disease process is symptomatic of our narcissistic culture and our modern victim-hood idolatry.

    It’s really about ‘acceptance’.  The ‘acceptance’ of a disease-industry which is all to prevalent in our country.

    Women are greatly suffering because of the environmental factors that pollute their bodies’ genetics and defenses – cancers are the consequence.

    I don’t accept this situation or the slick ‘pink’ marketing by the disease-industry.

  • ajparrillo

    Why don’t these corporations just donate without requiring purchases?  What a scam.  They entice charitable consumerism and then get tax credit for the resulting charitable foundation.  Instead of buying the product, just give all the money that would go towards that purchase to a well oiled charity.

  • tony

    dear tom ashbrook.  how many times during the breast cancer segment could you ask “is it too much?”  guess what.  your asking “is it too much?” and telling us the white house is lit up in pink over and over and over and over again WAS TOO MUCH.  

  • Terry Tree Tree

    I REALLY like pink, especially on women!!  It would be interesting to find out how much is scammed, in the name of research, as it is with most worthy causes!  Low-life thieves will use anything, or steal anything!!

  • Cancernotprettyorpink

    Complete fraud.

  • cancerisnotprettyorpink

    If Komen foundation actually wanted to help they wouldn’t take money from companies that promote cancer through the contents of their products or through business practices.  They would put money towards vitamin D education and research, they would help Dr. Burzynski in Texas pay his legal bills for the abuse he is receiving from the Texas Medical Board and the FDA.  They wouldn’t promote “Promise Me” perfume that has toxic chemicals in it.  They wouldn’t promote make-up kits with toxic chemicals in it.  Instead they send more money to drug companies to come up with cancer-causing cancer treatments that MIGHT help for 5 years. Look up Burzynski Movie and if you are offended by my opinion I think you will see cancer treatment in the US in a new light.  Also go to Breast Cancer Action’s website.  They take extra precautions not to accept money from ANYBODY that makes money off of cancer or companies that sell products that contain cancer-causing or potentially cancer-causing chemicals.  Komen on the other hand….well, buckets of KFC fried chicken dinners for a cure anyone?  There is no reason, other than truth, for me to plug these names.  It is imperative that mainstream public hears and sees this information to realize that what is going on and what is accepted as safe or honest in this country is usually neither.

  • cancerisnotprettyorpink
  • cancerisnotprettyorpink
  • Cat923

    Thank you for taking on this challenging phenomenon — it is WAY TOO MUCH PINK. 

  • Ellie

    Please present the environmental side of breast cancer; if we can prevent the disease, wouldn’t that be the goal????

    • cancerisnotprettyorpink

      Hi Ellie, I have a great “Think Before You Pink” toolkit from Breast Cancer Action that is a must have for anybody concerned about breast cancer education.  Somehow I’d like to get you my email so you can reply if you’d like…any suggestions?

    • ThinkBeforeUPink

      There is no PROFIT in prevention

  • Ellie

    The doctor is talking about “cure” not prevention

    • cancerisnotprettyorpink

      By the time conventional medicine finds breast cancer, it’s usually too late and a cure is necessary.  BUT I completely 120% agree that prevention is key.  Unfortunately our mainstream healthcare practitioners know nothing about preventative healthcare.  Their prevention includes vaccines and drugs.  That ain’t prevention…emphasis on “ain’t.”  Historically, anybody that challenged western medicine got mowed down by the AMA and the drug companies with help from the gov’t. http://virtualmentor.ama-assn.org/2011/06/mhst1-1106.html

  • ThinkBeforeUPink

    I really enjoyed this story thank you. However, I can not see how any one could discuss this without mentioning sexuality.  The pink campaign has capitalized on the sexualization of breasts. Our culture rejects breast feeding because breasts have become the symbol of female sexuality, not being just another body part.  Colons, lungs, prostates, bones, ovaries, pancreases, and stomachs are not sexy.  That is why other campaigns do not come close to this one.  This marketing is appealing to sexual adoration of breasts. How else do you explain the “I love boobies” merchandise. “I love colons” Not a chance.

    • Analuisarodriguez2010

      I agree!! couldn’t have said this better.  The campaign has definitely capitalized on the sex factor of breast cancer. While other cancers go ignored by major campaigning for awareness and fundraising for cure research.

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