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
Support for Susan G. Komen for the Cure has been on the decline ever since it made the decision earlier this year (2012) to disqualify Planned Parenthood from applying for grants to offset the costs of breast cancer screenings and clinical exams for low-income women. Komen reversed the decision after three days of public outrage, but the organization continues to be under scrutiny.
The Komen/Planned Parenthood ordeal revealed a darker side to the corporate nonprofit that many would-be supporters find objectionable. There have been calls . . . → Read More: As Komen’s brand falters, some are calling on Brinker to lead
It’s nearly impossible to take a vacation from pink ribbon culture. Even an escape to the sandy shores of south Jersey doesn’t guarantee entrée to a ribbon-free zone. To a great extent that’s because breast cancer activists did such a good job raising awareness about the importance of the breast cancer epidemic. Unfortunately, after that little pink ribbon transmuted from an awareness symbol to a brand logo, things changed. Now, it’s a convenient icon used to sell anything from toilet paper to fried . . . → Read More: Changing the Conversation about Breast Cancer, One Conversation at a Time
Earlier today (Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012) Komen President Liz Thompson announced her plans to leave Susan G. Komen for the Cure next month. Founder Nancy Brinker will also give up her role as Komen CEO and serve as chair of the board as soon as a replacement is found, and two board members are stepping down, Brenda Lauderback and Linda Law.
The news comes exactly one week after Komen was criticized once again in a key public forum, this time by MDs who called out . . . → Read More: Komen leadership in flux
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
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”
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.
Hi . . . → Read More: “BREAST CANCER AWARENESS PITCH”
Lisa Valentine is a regular Pink Ribbon Blues reader and growing contributor to the blog. Earlier this year, Lisa wrote an essay called “What Lies Beneath,” which examined cultural expectations about women’s breasts and her decision about mastectomy and reconstruction. Today, Lisa shares how she transitioned from being an avid Komen supporter to a new kind of breast cancer advocate. I’m grateful for Lisa’s contribution to the public discussion about pink ribbon culture and industry, for her commitment to evidence-based knowledge in changing . . . → Read More: I Didn’t Know Then What I Know Now