While we greatly appreciate the exposure, we were disheartened to see that very little information was provided about the prevention of environmental causes of breast cancer and readers were not informed as to where they could go to view the videos. In response, we submitted a follow-up article to several of these news outlets. We are currently waiting to hear back from the editors of several print and online newspapers regarding our submission.
|Submitted: October 2013
Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition
October is here along with the surge of breast cancer promises made by pink ribbon products and illumination ceremonies. As the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) reports year after year, these acts to “raise awareness for breast cancer” do very little to end the breast cancer epidemic. It is time for a transformation towards a strategy that is successful at reducing breast cancer incidence; it’s time for prevention.
Established in 1991, MBCC was among a small handful of grassroots organizations dedicated to ending breast cancer. Initially, advocates were outraged by the inflated rates of the disease and were united in a desire to work towards prevention. In 1994, MBCC founded Silent Spring Institute to conduct scientifically-sound investigations into the link between environmental exposures and breast cancer. Now, two decades later MBCC perseveres in their work toward prevention of environmental causes of breast cancer through community education, changes to public policy, and advocating for increased funding of environmentally-conscious breast cancer research like that conducted by Silent Spring Institute. This year, MBCC continues to spread the message of prevention with the launch of a new educational video series, MBCC Research Updates. Each short video, designed to present the facts about environmental health and breast cancer prevention, features an interview with a researcher, medical professional, university professor, breast cancer activist, or other prominent figure in the field. Segments launch in MBCC’s bimonthly eNewsletters and are made available on www.mbcc.org and YouTube.
The first segment of the series, “Why do we believe in environmental causes of breast cancer?” is an introduction to environmental breast cancer advocacy featuring Margo Simon Golden, MBCC President of the Board of Directors. Margo shares her personal experience with metastatic breast cancer and presents the evidence linking environmental factors with breast cancer risk. The second segment goes deeper into this link with Silent Spring Institute’s Director of Research, Ruthann Rudel, summarizing the institute’s review of chemicals which cause mammary tumors or alter mammary gland development in animal studies. Future segments will focus on issues including emerging contaminants and endocrine disruptors in drinking water, toxins in consumer products, and the hazards of synthetic flame retardants.
Cheryl Osimo, Executive Director of MBCC says, “This video series reflects the change we would like to see in the breast cancer movement as a whole. We have been calling for prevention of environmental causes of breast cancer for over two decades now. More and more the scientific evidence is piling up for the link between breast cancer and the environment; it is surprising that more organizations are not calling for the prevention of toxic exposures to protect future generations.”
Unfortunately, the ubiquitous pink ribbon and pervasive color pink continue to symbolize a single perspective on the breast cancer epidemic. This perspective promotes messages of early detection, researching treatment and searching for a cure through symbolic awareness raising ceremonies and pink ribbon products (despite the use of chemicals linked to cancer) – all at the expense of true prevention. These are significant missions but the most important goal is to prevent breast cancer before it starts. This would save countless women and their families from having to endure the hardship of a breast cancer diagnosis, painful treatment regimens, and expensive healthcare costs. The failure to acknowledge prevention is to seal the fate of one in eight women doomed to suffer a breast cancer diagnosis during her lifetime.
Clearly, the breast cancer movement is overdue for a message transformation and you can help make this change: beware of empty pink ribbon promises this October and concentrate your efforts on prevention by watching and sharing the video series. It is unfair to both women who have, and have not, been diagnosed to deny this side of the issue. Please consider sponsoring an upcoming segment of MBCC Research Updates by making a donation of $100 or more at www.mbcc.org or by calling 1-800-649-MBCC. In exchange for video sponsorship, your name will be listed as an Acknowledged Contributor on the MBCC website and in the credits of the next video segment! Also, to stay in the loop about MBCC’s breast cancer prevention advocacy, be sure to find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.