BCC Quarterly Is Out! (Issue 2)

BCC initials square logo 2-5-13Tear up the pink ribbons…

“…Campaign for honest information.”

This recent, unexpected advice from the British Medical Journal comes after decades of debate over screening mammograms for average risk women. In response to campaigns in which women are encouraged to get mammograms (e.g, “If you haven’t had a mammogram, you need more than your breasts examined”), women tend to overestimate the benefits of screening without having facts to make informed decisions. This makes the debate over screening as much about demanding evidence based information as it is about avoiding overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

In March, Bonnie Spanier and I weighed in on the cultural history of the pro-mammogram message in a CNN op-ed.

“Focusing on beliefs — mammograms always save lives — primes us to rely on opinions that may not be based on reliable evidence. Presenting those beliefs as facts manipulates our emotions. This persuasive strategy is prevalent in health and medical advertising, celebrity spots, and health news.”

We argued that belief in untested assumptions is far too common; instead, we need to understand the strengths, risks and limitations of any medical intervention and allow that understanding to inform our beliefs and our practices.

In addition to insights into the ongoing screening debate, this issue of the BCCQ has new book reviews and other resources, articles on cause marketing and sexual objectification in awareness campaigns, and a series of research briefs from BCC member and health researcher Jessica Werder MPH. Jess currently writes the “Recent Research” column for Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer! (CRAAB!), a community-based non-profit created in 1997 by a diverse group of caregivers, health practitioners, educators, advocates and breast cancer survivors.

Feel free to email me at gayle.sulik@breastcancerconsortium.net to share your news, get information, or set up your own Beyond Awareness campaign. And do forward our newsletter to colleagues and friends who would be interested in our work. Thank you for reading, sharing, and helping to change the breast cancer paradigm!


Gayle A. Sulik, PhD (founder and executive director)

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"women urged to get screened because it might save their lives. But that’s only 1 possible outcome, and it’s the least likely one" @cragcrest cutt.ly/jei8WJr

“Pink Ribbon Blues”

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

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"Seeing clearly through the pink haze" Toronto Sun

*Sad face*: Being happy does not help you live longer" New Scientist

How should we address breast cancer when norms continually change? The Guardian

Your Fun 'No Bra Day' Photos Are Overshadowing Terminal Breast Cancer Patients Broadly

Backlash against “pinkwashing” of breast cancer awareness campaigns BMJ

Breast Cancer to Rise 50 Percent by 2030? Hey, Not So Fast! Health News Review

Breast Cancer: The Flaws in the Cause iafrica.com

How to Make the Biggest Impact With Your Breast Cancer Donations Money

The Very Pink, Very Controversial Business of Breast Cancer Awareness Racked

NFL, Pink Ribbons Not Enough to Win over Women CNN

3 Questions We Need to Answer for Breast Cancer Awareness Month Chronicle of Philanthropy

The problem with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Women's Health Magazine

Pink Ribbon Envy: Living with an Uncool Cancer The Nib

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

Canadian Mammogram Study KCRW, NPR Affiliate

Time to Debunk the Mammography Myth CNN

Breast Cancer: Awareness, Activism & Pinkwashing NPR Charlotte

Buying Pink Al Jazeera's The Stream Watch »

The Pink Backlash Orlando Sentinel

Why Jolie's Test Costs So Much CNN

Preventative Mastectomies: Disease and Deception BlogTalkRadio

Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene' 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