Think Before You Put on that Pink Ribbon

I have breast cancer on both sides of my family. When it struck my mother, a few years later we did Race for the Cure in Seattle, and something just felt off. Big pharma, cosmetics, and other chemical companies (yes, nearly all cosmetics are chemicals) were sponsoring the event. Women running around with pink ribbons, pink hats, and the like under the mistaken impression that this organization was all about their best interests.

So I read up, and learned a few things over the years:

  • “Susan G. Komen for the Cure spends nearly a million dollars annually suing small charities over the use of the word “cure” in their charitable endeavors.” (source)
  • The Founder makes just under half a million per year in salary. The sister of the woman who died from breast cancer. Classy.
  • The Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity defines its mission as finding a cure for breast cancer. In recent years, however, it has cut by nearly half the proportion of fund-raising dollars it spends on grants to scientists working to understand the causes and develop effective new treatments for the disease.” (source)
  • The biggest chunk they spend is the 39% they spend on “public education” – which includes nothing about prevention. WTF!
  • “The Komen Foundation owns stock in several pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, the maker of Tamoxifen, a cancer drug that has been found to increase the risk of certain cancers.iii They also reportedly own stock in General Electric, which makes mammogram machines. Their focus on early screening, detection and drug treatment fits these ties to a “T,” while education about the real underlying causes of cancer are sorely missing from their campaigns.” (source)

Last year, Susan G Komen partnered with Baker Hughes to create the above-referenced pink drill bits, partnering with a fracking company who is known for its carcinogenic chemicals released into the environment. As Karuna Jagger of Breast Cancer Action wrote, “This partnership creates something far more insidious — a profit cycle whereby Komen raises millions of dollars each year to cure a disease that its corporate partner could be helping to cause.”

Here’s a bit more info. Want to make a difference? Promote healthy eating, exercise, and avoiding carcinogenic chemicals. Give to the real fighters like Breast Cancer Action. But I urge you, drop the pink ribbon fantasy and focus on what’s real.

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