PINK RIBBON PRODUCTS – HELPFUL OR HARMFUL?

October 10, 2014
Dr. Jeff Crippen

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An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
-Benjamin Franklin

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Some newsletters I look forward to writing because I find the topics interesting and am excited to share the information with you, and others I feel I HAVE to write – no matter what.

This newsletter is an example of the latter.

October is breast cancer awareness month — the month NFL players wear pink cleats, KFC sells pink buckets of chicken and the collective consciousness of the nation is focused on “breast cancer awareness.”

I would like to begin by saying this is a worthy cause. If we found a way to prevent breast cancer, a disease that affects 1 in 8 women during their lifetime, it would be a major cause worth supporting.

Also, I want to commend the intentions of all of those out there who are raising money, supporting the charities and buying the pink ribbon products in an attempt to stem the tide of this disease. Your intention is noble.

However, I don’t think the results of your efforts match your good intentions.

Before you spend another dollar on a product with a pink ribbon or cheer those who do, I think there are a few things you should know.

Where does the money go?

The Susan G. Komen foundation is the largest breast cancer charity in the world, managing a yearly budget of 300+ million dollars. How is this budget spent? Below is a graphic taken directly from their website.

graficAbout 21 cents out of every dollar they raise is spent on research. And of this research, almost all of it is focused on treatment and diagnosis of the disease and not prevention.

While finding a magical drug to cure cancer is a worthy goal, a wonder cure has not been found, for any major cancer, in the 42 years since President Nixon first declared a war on cancer in 1971. Think about this, despite billions of dollars being spent every year, and thousands of researchers and clinicians tireless working on a cure, 0 wonder drugs have been found to cure any of the hundreds of forms of cancer after 42 years of work.

Why have they never found a magic drug to cure cancer? Simply because cancer is not caused by a prescription drug deficiency (more on this below).

Also, you will see that only 44 cents out of every dollar they raise is spent on treatment, screening and research. So while many who donate think their money is used to find a cure and help those with the disease, the truth is less than half of every dollar donated is spent in these areas.

Pink Ribbons Everywhere

If the claim that the Susan G Komen foundation cares more about raising money than preventing and curing cancer is true, what evidence is there to support the claim? Consider these three Komen decisions, as reported by The Guardian in 2012:

  • Last year Komen was forced to reformulate its “Promise Me” fragrance after another breast cancer charity found it contained toxic and hazardous chemicals.
  • In 2010 Komen aligned its brand with the fast-food chain KFC for “Buckets for the Cure”, triggering a PR disaster. Among the risk factors associated with breast cancer is a high-fat diet and obesity.
  • A partnership with Yoplait yoghurt two years earlier was similarly criticized as the product contained Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, associated with Cancer. The company has since removed rBGH from yoghurts.

Whoops!

Here are three instances in which the Komen foundation was raising money to treat breast cancer, by endorsing products shown to increase the risk of cancer!

Yes, you read that right, they were raising money to end cancer by selling products that are associated with or cause cancer.

I will give you a second for your head to stop spinning.

These are just three isolated examples of many. If you would like to to take a second look at the largest breast cancer charity in the world, I would encourage you to rent/download the movie Pink Ribbon Inc. You can view the trailer here.

An ounce of prevention

However, let’s now look at the other side of the coin. What steps can you take to become healthier and prevent breast cancer in the first place?

Below I listed 10 steps to optimize your health and prevent breast cancer. To read the full article by Dr. Furhman, including the 50+ researched studies that support his specific recommendations, click here.

The top 10 steps to prevent breast cancer:

  1. Do not drink alcohol.
  2. Do not smoke.
  3. Do not take estrogen.
  4. Have babies and nurse them.
  5. Reduce consumption of poor quality animal protein.
  6. Eat lots of green vegetables, mushrooms, and onions.
  7. Avoid synthetic supplements, optimize your Vitamin D levels and eat Healthy Fats.
  8. Use one tablespoon of ground flax seeds or chia seeds daily.
  9. Don’t grill or fry foods.
  10. Exercise at least three hours a week and maintain a lean body with little body fat.

I only wish the Komen foundation would spend their 100,000,000+ education budget sharing these ideas with women. :(

While the Susan G. Komen foundation is an excellent case study in marketing and brand awareness, and while there are some well intentioned individuals who support the organization, please don’t depend on them to protect you or find the cure for breast cancer.

The best, most effective treatment is always prevention and by adopting the 10 steps above, you will be creating a healthier you and preventing cancer before it shows up.

Also, think twice before you buy a “pink ribbon” product or donate to the Komen organization.

If your intention is to help women be well and prevent the disease in the first place, there are many better ways to do this than buying a pink ribbon product.

If you have any comments on the article or would like to customize a prevention plan for yourself, let me know in the comments below

Smile, enjoy today, and have a healthy week :)

5 Comments. Leave new

I clicked on all of your links, including the comedian and they were great. I want to see more of the pink ribbon movie… Thanks for your insightful thoughts concerning our health care… xoxo

Reply

Great perspective and tips Jeff, thanks for sharing! Miss you and hope you are well.

Reply

Thanks Ashley!

Reply

Very good, thank you. And that doesn’t even touch on the partnership/ relationship Komen has/had with Planned Parenthood, and the connection between abortion and the high risk of breast cancer.

Reply

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