Breast Cancer Consortium Quarterly, Second Issue

BCC initials square logo 2-5-13

I’ve been spending much of my time working with the Breast Cancer Consortium to develop plans, projects, and analyses. One of my roles is to edit the Quarterly newsletter, which has just been released.

Table of Contents The Breast Cancer Consortium, Gathering Momentum! “Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer” Patients, Patents, and Profits “Cancer and My Marriage” “Topsail” — New Video by Angelo Merendino, My Wife’s Fight With Breast Cancer The Making of a Peaceful Death The Pink and the Black Rights or Rhetoric? . . . → Read More: Breast Cancer Consortium Quarterly, Second Issue

The trouble with Komen: Misusing statistics/Generating false hope


This article was edited since its original publication.

It is now widely known that the benefits of wholesale mammography screening were overpromised. Rates of overdiagnosis (i.e., when a diagnosed tumor lacks the potential to progress to a clinical stage, or is so slow-growing that the person would die from other causes) are higher than previously realized. We still do not know what causes breast cancer, how to prevent it, or why it recurs. The breast cancer that kills (i.e., metastatic) continues to strike hundreds of . . . → Read More: The trouble with Komen: Misusing statistics/Generating false hope

“The Battle They Don’t Want to See”

Screen Shot - The Battle We Didn't Choose

No one has captured a glimpse into the largely invisible world of metastatic breast cancer more compellingly than photographer Angelo Merendino. Angelo began documenting his wife Jen’s illness photographically shortly after her diagnosis in 2008. It was just five months after they had gotten married that Angelo and Jen entered the world of cancer. After a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and reconstructive surgery the couple celebrated their first anniversary with the news that Jen was cancer free. Two years after that, Jen had a . . . → Read More: “The Battle They Don’t Want to See”

“Keep the Race Moving Toward the Cure”

photo-Lisa Valentine crop

Pink Ribbon Blues Contributor Lisa Valentine has written two essays for the PRB Blog: “What Lies Beneath,” which examines cultural expectations about women’s breasts, and “I Didn’t Know Then What I Know Now,” which shares how Lisa went from being an avid Komen supporter to a new kind of breast cancer advocate. Earlier today (Jul. 12) Lisa published an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune highlighting the exploitive character of much of today’s pink ribbon culture.

In “Keep the Race Moving Toward the Cure,” Lisa Valentine . . . → Read More: “Keep the Race Moving Toward the Cure”

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?

30. “Pink Ribbon Blues” – A Poem

I was inspired by the Pink Ribbon Blues Poetry Jam this summer. If you haven’t read the winning poems, check them out. They were chosen by popular vote and over 250 people participated in the voting. None of my own poems were included, but I did write poems during the jam. It seemed only right. As an avid researcher and writer, it was fun for me to use words in a new and creative way. After the contest, a friend of mine announced a poetry contest . . . → Read More: 30. “Pink Ribbon Blues” – A Poem

16. Loss and Remembering: A Story of Heather Beyer

After Pink Ribbon Blues came out, Bill Noren periodically sent me photos, news items, and other tidbits about pink ribbon culture that concerned him. Several of the images and photos that are sprinkled throughout the Pink Ribbon Blues Blog and in the ever-expanding photo gallery came from him. Last Spring, Bill sent me some news stories about Heather Beyer and told me how it represented, for him, a turn in public culture that not only glorified survivorship but actually hid the real difficulties people . . . → Read More: 16. Loss and Remembering: A Story of Heather Beyer

14. The Cancer Show: A Cast of Thousands

This summer I wrote an essay on the Pink Ribbon Blues Blog called, “Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud.” It was one of the few times I revealed how much cancer influences my life both as a researcher and as a person. Breast cancer is my primary topic of study, but sometimes I am overwhelmed by the fact that so many people in my life are dealing with the ongoing drudgery of the disease.

Of course, many people continue to thrive after a cancer . . . → Read More: 14. The Cancer Show: A Cast of Thousands

11. “After the Cure”

One of my readers emailed me to ask why so little discussion of cancer is focused on morbidity? In epidemiological terms morbidity is typically calculated, either in terms of incidence (i.e., how many people are diagnosed with a disease in a given time period) or prevalence (i.e., how many total people in the population currently have the disease). These are important things to know from a public health standpoint, but my reader is also referring to what it means to live day to day in a . . . → Read More: 11. “After the Cure”

9. Pink Ribbons, Inc.

The day I saw an advertisement in Harper’s Magazine for Samantha King’s book, “Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy,” I gasped. Not because of the title. I had been researching the social aspects of breast cancer for five years and was about to begin the next phase of my analysis into the industry and consumption side of pink ribbon culture. When I saw the ad I wondered if King had already written my book! I ordered Pink Ribbons, Inc. and was relieved to . . . → Read More: 9. Pink Ribbons, Inc.

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