Well, it's October 1st. It's national "pay attention to breast cancer" month. I'm not really happy with the pink nausea, everyone telling you to buy this yogurt or that pair of jeans and the company will donate 10 cents to this fund or that fund... But, regardless of my feelings, here we are.
Here are some things that I feel are important:
There is strong, growing scientific evidence that the cause of breast cancer is environmental, i.e. chemicals in our food, water, air, and soil. You can see some of this evidence in the Breast Cancer Fund's report The State of the Evidence 2010. Another important source of information is the President's Cancer Panel's recent report, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now. Also, be sure to read the Silent Spring Institute's fact sheet on breast cancer and the environment. The point is to figure out how to prevent breast cancer before it begins. Mammograms can (sometimes) find breast cancer once it's already there - improved treatments are great for those who are already diagnosed - we want to prevent breast cancer before it even starts!
The Love/Avon Army of Women is a wonderful group put together by Dr. Susan Love, a leader in the breast cancer arena. The "army" is aiming to recruit 1 million American women who are available to take part in numerous research studies, with the goal of preventing breast cancer. You can easily join the Army of Women by clicking here.
Another wonderful organization, if you are local to Massachusetts (or even if you are not) is the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC). I recently joined the board of this organization, which is dedicated to challenging all obstacles to the eradication of breast cancer... and believes that compelling research exists linking environmental toxins to the dramatic rise in breast cancer incidence over the past several decades. The MBCC started an amazing research organization called the Silent Spring Institute, which does research on the links between the environment and breast cancer. Currently, the MBCC does education and outreach to spread the word about breast cancer/environment links. You can read more about their work here.
There are a few other great organizations worth mentioning. These include Breast Cancer Action, an agency on the West Coast that challenges assumptions about breast cancer, and which created ThinkBeforeYouPink. There is also the National Breast Cancer Coalition that has just set a 10-year "deadline" to end breast cancer, and which has an interesting white paper laying out the reality of the situation: Despite years of campaigns to raise awareness, ever expanding screening programs, and increased fund raising and research, breast cancer incidence has increased and mortality has not changed dramatically. It is time for a radically new approach.
For breast cancer information, BreastCancer.org is a wonderful resource, and the discussion boards there are particularly amazing and supportive. For people under 40 with cancer, I2Y (the I'm Too Young for This Cancer Foundation) is fantastic, and they have a weekly radio show/podcast called The Stupid Cancer Show, which I love. I also love anyone who writes truthfully and irreverently about breast cancer. For example, author Barbara has a great post entitled Not So Pretty in Pink.
The bottom line is, women are still dying from breast cancer. It's not okay. I follow the blogs of women whose breast cancers are not going away, such as Coffee and Chemo, and Mothers With Cancer. These women are just trying to live their lives as mothers, wives, friends, workers, people, and they have to battle cancer as well. This is not okay.
We can do something. Click on the links. Learn more about the environmental causes of breast cancer. Join the Army of Women. Give to some of these fine organizations. Do something. Don't give up. And don't give in to the pink.