The She-ro

Ch3 Cancer VixenSuperCROP

She is the protagonist of the epic breast cancer survivor story.

She exists in many iterations; in magazines, advertisements, news stories, and awareness events.

She is a superwoman who courageously, passionately, and aggressively battles disease.

She faces tremendous difficulties.

With style and optimism, she learns from her experience, is transformed, and shares lessons learned.

She is the SHE-RO, the triumphant survivor who fights breast cancer and wins.

Those who do not embrace her have no place in pink ribbon culture.

Cancer Vixen: A She-ro . . . → Read More: The She-ro

Komen, Still Spreading Screening Hype


I was taken aback a moment ago when I came across a Facebook update from yesterday posted by a Komen Affiliate. It was advertising free mammograms. There is nothing wrong with offering free mammograms per se, but the announcement included a heavily scrutinized advertisement that claims getting screened is the key to surviving breast cancer. It isn’t. If concern about Komen’s misrepresentation of scientific information sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve already been over this.

Professors Steven Woloshin, MD, and Lisa M. Schwartz, MD, . . . → Read More: Komen, Still Spreading Screening Hype

You Know What's NOT Sexy?


Don’t say “breast cancer.” Because breast cancer is SUPER SEXY. If you’re not convinced, check out the  Pink Ribbon Blues photo gallery. It includes common breast cancer “awareness” images like these.

A Boobfest features sleek women in black cocktail dresses to raise funds for breast cancer. KK Temptations holds a bikini contest to increase awareness. Fox News uses an alluring image of a woman cupping her pink bra in an article about lymph node removal for those with early stage breast . . . → Read More: You Know What’s NOT Sexy?

Yet another "breast cancer awareness pitch"

A sea of pink

A sea of pink

It’s June. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is months away. Yet, I’ve received countless “pitches” throughout the year from PR firms gearing up for another year of pink ribbon festivities and revenues. In the wake of mounting concerns about pinkwashing, profiteering, political biases, and the overwhelming diversion of funds from research, prevention, and the kinds of actions that might help people in dire straits after a cancer diagnosis, the happy-go-lucky pitches keep flowing in. Here’s one I recently received.


The real scandal: science denialism at Susan G. Komen for the Cure®

Journalist Christie Aschwanden has written one of the finest essays I’ve read about the “false narrative” (i.e., the fairytale notion that breast cancer is a uniformly progressive disease that starts small and only grows and spreads if you don’t stop it in time), and its use in selling wholesale screening, along with accompanying lifestyle and product placements, to the masses. With permission, the Pink Ribbon Blues Blog republishes Christie Aschwanden’s essay: “The real scandal: science denialism at Susan G. Komen for the Cure,” originally published . . . → Read More: The real scandal: science denialism at Susan G. Komen for the Cure®

18. Advertising WHAT???

Nizarys Vargas is a senior at the College of Mount of Saint Vincent. Her current concentration is business administration with a minor in sociology, and Ms. Vargas plans to become a funeral director. Having worked closely with the Sisters of Charity, she is committed to helping people through some of the saddest and most difficult times in their lives. The Sisters have also been a guiding force in helping her to know what it means to be surrounded by strong, empowered, and compassionate women. Ms. . . . → Read More: 18. Advertising WHAT???

10. {ReThink Your Pitch} Q&A With A National Brand Over Breast Cancer…

Kate-Madonna Hindes is an industry leader and national author and speaker on emotional integrity and authenticity in today’s online media. Her columns are regularly published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Women of HR, GirlmeetsGeek, Brazen Careerist and JobDig. With 15+ years of combined, published, experience for news media, state government and Fortune 500 businesses, she regularly covers national Social Media Technology events from an HR / Recruiting perspective. “{ReThink Your Pitch}” was originally published on GirlmeetsGeek on September 24, 2011. With permission, Pink Ribbon Blues is honored to . . . → Read More: 10. {ReThink Your Pitch} Q&A With A National Brand Over Breast Cancer…

3. Factoids and Impressions

One might assume that anything involving breast cancer awareness would be based on the best available evidence. Unfortunately, this assumption would be wrong. I’ve evaluated hundreds of campaigns, advertisements, websites, educational brochures, and other sundry materials related to breast cancer awareness only to find information that is inaccurate, incomplete, irrelevant, or out of context. We could spend the whole year analyzing them. For now, consider a print advertisement for mammograms by CENTRA Mammography Services. [Note: I previously shared this ad back in July in an . . . → Read More: 3. Factoids and Impressions

“It’s Time To Get Real”

The commercialization of breast cancer has been a growing trend. Beginning with the emergence of the pink ribbon in 1992, there has been an increasing notion that breast cancer “awareness” results from pink osmosis. Many, including myself, have asked: What exactly are people made aware of? When analyzing the imagery associated with pink ribbon products and awareness activities, the messages are clear:

Breast cancer exists.

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All women are at risk.

[singlepic id=33 . . . → Read More: “It’s Time To Get Real”

The Pink Leftovers

Now that Pinktober is officially over and we’ve had a few days to recover we might ask ourselves, “Where have all the pink leftovers gone?” Jan already commented in October that she feared what would would happen to the pink gear from the NFL.

“Many of the NFL players are wearing pink gloves, pink wrist wraps, pink shoes, etc. While the sentiment is nice, what will happen to these articles after October? I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think we will . . . → Read More: The Pink Leftovers

A billboard tells you to try harder so you can beat cancer? I'm aghast @NancysPoint! #BCSM

“Pink Ribbon Blues,” Book

Paperback includes new Introduction on fundraising controversies and color insert with images of, and reactions to, the pinking of breast cancer (2012).

Order the Paperback » 

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Recent Sulik Interviews

A Year After Bombings, Some Say 'Boston Strong' Has Gone Overboard NPR, All Things Considered

Canadian Mammogram Study KCRW, NPR Affiliate

Breast Cancer: Awareness, Activism & Pinkwashing NPR Charlotte

Buying Pink Al Jazeera's The Stream Watch »

The Pink Backlash Orlando Sentinel

Preventative Mastectomies: Disease and Deception Listen to BlogTalkRadio »

Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene' Listen to KCRW »

Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer. The New York Times Magazine.

The Story Behind the Pink Ribbon Campaign Sisters Talk Radio

WISH Interview Women's International Summit for Health

Making Cancer About The Patient, Not The Body Part CBS Pittsburgh

Sexy breast cancer campaigns anger many patients USA Today

The perils of pink The Daily

Komen pink campaign creates breast-cancer blues for some Dallas Morning News

A yellow flag for the NFL's pink New York Daily

Gayle Sulik named #7 in SharecareNow’s Top 10 Online Influencers in Breast Cancer

"Breast cancer cancer causes so easily derailed" Philly Inquirer

"Komen Charity Under Microscope for Funding, Science" Reuters

"The Fight Against Cancer - And Abortion?

"Susan G. Komen For the Cure defunds Planned Parenthood." In Deep with Angie Coiro

"Amid Breast Cancer Month, Is there Pink Fatigue?" NPR's All Things Considered

"How is Breast Cancer Culture Undermining Women's Health?" America’s Radio News Network

"Pink Ribbon Culture and Breast Cancer" The Kojo Nnamdi Show

"The Big Business of Breast Cancer" 
Marie Claire

"Does Breast Cancer Awareness Month Crowd Out Other Diseases?" Slate

"Pink Inc. Has Many Starting to See Red" The Sacramento Bee

"Get Your Pink Off" Ottawa Citizen

"Komen Pink Ribbons Raise Green and Questions" USA Today