Patients, Patents, and Profits in a Genomic Age

BCA Photo

When the Human Genome Project started in 1990 there were fewer than 100 genes associated with human diseases. The first genetic mutation (for Huntington’s disease) was identified in 1986, just a few years before the Project started. After more than a decade of technological innovation and about $3.8 billion, a team of scientists across more than forty research sites succeeded in mapping the entire sequence of human DNA. The project completed two years ahead of schedule in 2003, enabling scientists to sequence the more than 3 billion subunits of the . . . → Read More: Patients, Patents, and Profits in a Genomic Age

“The Emperor Has No Clothes”: Komen for the Cure Exposed

I’m pleased to have written a guest editorial for KomenWatch about the recent scandal involving the Komen organization.

KomenWatch (www.komenwatch.org) is a public service website aimed at “sharing information and generating critical discussion about the largest breast cancer fundraiser in the world, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.” The KomenWatch website includes a large, searchable database of news sources and other articles that highlight public concerns about the Komen organization and/or its role in contributing to the splintering of the breast cancer movement and to the overt commercialization . . . → Read More: “The Emperor Has No Clothes”: Komen for the Cure Exposed

8. Taking Action Against Pinkwashing: An Interview with Breast Cancer Action’s Karuna Jaggar

Breast Cancer Action (BCAction) in the San Francisco Bay area was one of the first breast cancer organizations to raise concerns formally about the cancer industry and profiteering in the name of breast cancer. In 2002 Breast Cancer Action started the Think Before You Pink® (TB4UP) campaign, which calls for transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions. As part of the Think Before You Pink campaign, BCAction coined the term “pinkwasher.”

A pinkwasher is a company or . . . → Read More: 8. Taking Action Against Pinkwashing: An Interview with Breast Cancer Action’s Karuna Jaggar

“The Politics of Breast Cancer” Webinar: Sign Up Today!

A message from Breast Cancer Action:

Why does BCA so fiercely object to Breast Cancer Awareness Month? What is so wrong with pink ribbon marketing? Why on earth would corporations involved in the treatment and diagnosis of women with breast cancer try to control how the public understands the disease?

Curious about the answers to these questions? Join us for the first of our monthly webinars, “The Politics of Breast Cancer”- a crash course on the “pinking” of breast cancer, environmental causes of . . . → Read More: “The Politics of Breast Cancer” Webinar: Sign Up Today!

My Letter of Support for Breast Cancer Action

When Breast Cancer Action asked if I would be interested in writing a letter of support for their organization, I said YES without hesitation.

How could I not support this organization? BCA’s focus on root causes and systemic issues benefits not only the cause of breast cancer but extends to patients’ rights, environmental protections, social disparities, safe and effective treatments, and truth in advertising. As my letter of support (below) indicates, BCA is an active part of the SOLUTION to a grave social problem. If you’re . . . → Read More: My Letter of Support for Breast Cancer Action

BCA’s New Executive Director, Karuna Jaggar

Last August Breast Cancer Action–the organization well known for phrases such as “pinkwashing” and “Think Before You Pink”– announced the retirement of executive director Barbara Brenner following 15 years of service and leadership. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, I wonder who they’ll find to fill Barbara’s shoes?” After all, those are some pretty big shoes.

During Brenner’s tenure, the organization advanced evidence-based policy related to screening mammography, challenged the patenting of the breast cancer genes BRCA1 & BRCA2, successfully urged the FDA to . . . → Read More: BCA’s New Executive Director, Karuna Jaggar

Another Voice from the Breast Cancer Movement

Caitlin Carmody, membership coordinator of Breast Cancer Action, wrote a thoughtful and insightful post on BCA’s Think Before You Pink blog. She notes that many awareness campaigns focus on individual choices, lifestyles, and behaviors (which can be personally empowering), but they tend to forget about “the context in which breast cancer risk and diagnosis occurs.”

The context might include language barriers, access to healthy food or adequate health insurance, safe working and living environments, and the kinds of protections that guarantee the safety of . . . → Read More: Another Voice from the Breast Cancer Movement

Before You Buy Pink

Breast Cancer Action (BCA) in the San Francisco Bay area was one of the first organizations to formally raise concerns about the cancer industry and profiteering in the name of breast cancer. In 2002, BCA started the Think Before You Pink campaign, which called for transparency and accountability on the part of companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising. An advertisement in The New York Times with the headline “Who’s really cleaning up here?” identified several companies whose pink ribbon promotions did more . . . → Read More: Before You Buy Pink

“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).


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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? Salon.com

"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

** MORE MEDIA LINKS **
** MORE RADIO INTERVIEWS **