Anyone who has read my blog knows that I am a card-burning anti-pink rabble-rouser. Or in Ms. Brinker's [founder & CEO of Susan G. Komen] opinion...a grumbler. Nancy'sPoint - a blog that I follow and enjoy, insightfully scrutinized the following OP-Ed by, for, on behalf of Ms. Brinker - wherein Ms. Brinker defends the mission of SGK against plebeians like myself.
I am not going to try and compete with Nancy's dissection. [Check out Nancy'sPoint: http://nancyspoint.com/rumblings-grumblings-my-response-to-ms-brinker/.] I was so enraged, however, when I read Ms. Brinker's OP-ED piece myself, I just couldn't sit quietly. My own opinions and fingers started churning. I share Ms. Brinker's OP-ED in its entirety below.
First impression for the uninitiated [not meant to be derogatory, but only to categorize those who enjoy an envious life beyond researching anything and everything related to breast cancer] may be..hey, SGK sounds like they are on the front line for those living with breast cancer...PINK ON! Then, there is the fact-check. And Ms. Brinker's defenses, in my opinion, crumble. I share my opinion and my two cents in CAPS at the most egregious of her statements, below. I have also included all of the posted comments to Ms. Brinker's OP-ED. They are articulate, respectful, and spot-on. They challenge the unsupported assertions of Ms. Brinker brilliantly, and made me proud to be an ANTI-PINK RABBLE-ROUSING GRUMBLING PLEBE.
Another View: Too much pink? Not while breast cancer still kills
Special to The [Sacramento] Bee
OPINION - Published Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011
Nancy G. Brinker, former ambassador to Hungary, is founder and CEO, Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She is responding to the Oct. 23 article by Francesca Lyman in California Forum, "Pink Inc. has many starting to see red."
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and every year at this time we hear grumblings about pink, the color of the breast cancer movement.
"There's too much pink." "We have enough awareness." "Where is the money going?"
When a Portland woman is living in her car because she can't afford her cancer treatment; when a Chicago woman has to choose between paying bus fare to treatment or buying food for her family; and when treatments for metastatic breast cancer are often more debilitating than the disease itself, then there is not too much pink during October. We'd argue there's not enough.
MS. BRINKER, YOU NEGLECT TO SHARE THE LACK OF FUNDING THAT SGK ITSELF DIRECTS TOWARD METASTATIC BREAST CANCER RESEARCH & TREATMENT. YOU GLOSS OVER THE SAD FACT THAT SGK SOLELY FOCUSES ON EARLY DETECTION...WHICH DOES NOT NECESSARILY "SAVE LIVES." THE VERY TRAGIC IRONY IS THAT SUSAN G. KOMEN DIED FROM METASTATIC BREAST CANCER. SEE ALSO... http://boo-bee-trap.blogspot.com/2011/10/peaking-behind-pink-curtain.html
For the skeptics out there, we'd invite you to take a few minutes to learn what the pink is actually doing. You might be surprised to learn that 84 cents of every dollar spent by Susan G. Komen for the Cure over the past five years has gone to cutting-edge research, to community programs that get women into and through cancer treatment, to advocacy programs that preserved cancer funding in 19 states, and to things that mean a lot when you're sick, like wigs, groceries, co-pays and, hopefully, an end to having to choose between feeding your family and going to the doctor's office.
FOR THE "PINK BELIEVERS" OUT THERE, SGK HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR 32 YEARS, WHICH BEGS THE QUESTION: WHY DID SGK ONLY START DIRECTING FUNDING TO "CUTTING-EDGE RESEARCH" FIVE YEARS AGO? MORE CURIOUS IS THAT OF THE ESTIMATED $2.1 BILLION TOTAL PUBLIC SUPPORT AND REVENUE RAISED (1982-2010) SGK SPENT ONLY $500 MILLION ON RESEARCH.
Pink also pays for awareness, because despite the assumption that everyone knows all there is to know about breast cancer, women still tell me they don't need a mammogram because there's no history of breast cancer in their family (awareness check: most people diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history); or because they've never worn underwire bras (awareness check: underwire bras have nothing to do with breast cancer).
"FINDING CANCER DOES NOT ALWAYS SAVE LIVES....MAMMOGRAMS CAN RESULT IN FALSE-NEGATIVE RESULTS [AS MY PERSONAL HISTORY OF MAMMOGRAMS ATTEST]. REGRETTABLY, SCREENING MAMMOGRAMS MISS UP TO 20% OF BREAST CANCERS THAT ARE PRESENT AT THE TIME OF SCREENING. FURTHER... SCREENING MAMMOGRAMS ALSO FIND CANCERS & CASES OF DCIS THAT WILL NEVER CAUSE SYMPTOMS OR THREATEN A WOMAN'S LIFE, LEADING TO 'OVERDIAGNOSIS' [AND 'OVERTREATMENT'] OF BREAST CANCER...EXPOSING WOMEN UNNECESSARILY TO THE ADVERSE EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH CANCER THERAPY."
So no, there's not too much awareness. And yes, all this pink does quite a bit of good.
The $685 million that Komen has invested in research over 30 years has helped reduce breast cancer death rates by 31 percent since 1991. It has helped improve five-year relative survival rates for early stage cancers to 99 percent, up from 74 percent when I started. It has paid for treatments that are making it possible for many women, even with aggressive or metastatic disease, to live longer, and it has provided key research findings for patients with other types of cancer, most notably those with BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genetic mutations.
SGK's OWN 990 REPORTS INDICATE ONLY $500 MILLION INVESTED, NOT $685M. I CULLED AGAIN THROUGH KOMEN'S REPORTS, AFTER READING MS. BRINKER'S OP-ED, AND COULD NOT FIND THE ADDITIONAL $185 MILLION SHE PADS ON TO THE ABOVE FIGURE. MORE IMPORTANTLY, HOWEVER, IN 1991, 43,583 WOMEN DIED FROM BREAST CANCER. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00026281.html
ACCORDING TO THE CDC, IN 2007 (the most recent year numbers that are currently available) 40,598 WOMEN DIED IN THE U.S. FROM BREAST CANCER. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/statistics/index.html THE DIFFERENCE IS 14.6 %, NOT 31%; AND SGK'S ACTUAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE ACTUAL DECREASE IN NUMBERS IS NOT DEFINITIVE. ANECDOTALLY, OF THE 3 ONCOLOGISTS I INTERVIEWED FOR MY OWN CARE, ALL OF THEM CONCURRED THAT THERE REALLY HAS NOT BEEN A DECREASE IN THE DEATH RATE FROM BREAST CANCER IN 50 YEARS. THE REPORTED DIFFERENCES IS HOW THE DEATHS OF WOMEN ARE BEING CATEGORIZED. E.G. UTERINE CANCER, OVARIAN CANCER vs. MBC.
At Komen alone, the funds raised from pink paid for 700,000 breast screenings last year for poor and uninsured women, and provided financial and social support for another 100,000.
BY THE WAY, SGK OWNS STOCK IN GENERAL ELECTRIC - ONE OF THE LARGEST MAKERS OF MAMMOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT IN THE WORLD.
All told, Susan G. Komen has pumped $1.3 billion into programs in thousands of communities that provide this real help to real women, men and families facing breast cancer.
In California, Komen has funded $64 million since 1982 to research at institutions across the state, including 68 active research projects totaling $30 million today. The eight Komen Affiliates serving California have awarded millions to local community programs and fought to preserve state-funded breast cancer programs for California's low-income and underserved women.
The research we're funding here, and globally, is investigating environmental factors in breast cancer, real prevention strategies, ways to find breast cancer before symptoms appear, ways to stop it before it spreads, and ways to effectively treat the deadliest forms of this disease for those with metastatic and aggressive disease. The community programs target women who, without our help, will not get access to screenings, cancer treatment and follow-up care.
GLAD YOU BROUGHT UP ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS MS. BRINKER...WHAT ABOUT SGK'S REQUISITION OF ITS NEW PERFUME, "PROMISE ME," THAT CONTAINS GALAXOLIDE - A KNOWN HORMONE DISRUPTER, AND TOLUENE - A POTENT NEUROTOXICANT BANNED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FRAGRANCE ASSOCIATION. http://boo-bee-trap.blogspot.com/2011/09/promise-me-pink.html
WHAT ABOUT SGK'S FLIP-FLOPPING ON THE IMPACT OF POLYCARBONATE PLASTICS CONTAINING BPAs ON OUR HEALTH. SEE, SGK WEBSITE 02/2011. COULD SGK'S INCONSISTENT STANCE ON BPA LADEN PLASTICS BE ATTRIBUTABLE TO ITS BRAND NAMED SPONSORS: COCA-COLA, GENERAL MILLS, GEORGIA-PACIFIC, 3M - INDUSTRIES THAT ALL USE BPAs IN THEIR MANUFACTURING AND PACKAGING. MS. BRINKER, I NOTE THAT YOU ARE ALSO SILENT AS TO THE FACT THAT SGK OWNS STOCK IN SEVERAL PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES, INCLUDING ASTRA-ZENECA (aka AZKONOBEL), THE MAKER OF TAMOXIFEN - WHOSE SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDE UTERINE CANCER.
Research and community programs cost money, and we make no apologies for raising the funds that make them possible. In fact, we need to raise more, because - despite our advances - a woman is still being diagnosed with breast cancer every 19 seconds and a woman dies of breast cancer every 74 seconds somewhere in the world.
WHILE WOMEN CONTINUE TO DIE AT RATES THAT HAVE NOT SIGNIFICANTLY CHANGED SINCE 1960, SGK SPENDS NEARLY $1 MILLION YEARLY SUING SMALL CHARITIES FOR THE USE OF THE WORD: "CURE." SGK'S GENERAL COUNSEL, JONATHAN BLUM, WHEN COMMENTING ON A LEGAL BATTLE INVOLVING SGK AND A SMALL LUNG CANCER NON-PROFIT, FOR USING THE WORD "CURE", STATED: "WE SEE IT AS RESPONSIBLE STEWARDSHIP OF OUR DONOR'S FUNDS.
Do consumers need to be aware of where their dollars are going? Absolutely. We urge people to do their homework before donating to ensure that their dollars go to organizations that are legitimately engaged in ending breast cancer.
WHICH IS WHY IN REVIEWING SGK'S 990s YOU CAN DISCOVER THAT THE CLAIMS BY MS. BRINKER, ON BEHALF OF SGK, DO NOT PAN OUT.
If you do like pink - and our surveys say most people do - then I thank you for seeing it for what it is: the symbol of a movement that is doing all that it can to end suffering from the leading cancer killer of women worldwide. Half a million women will die of breast cancer in the world this year, including 40,000 right here in the United States.
AGAIN, MS. BRINKER, IT CANNOT BE OVERSTATED, THAT THIS NUMBER HAS NOT SUBSTANTIVELY CHANGED IN 50 YEARS, DESPITE THE BILLIONS RAISED...AND SPENT BY SGK.
|Roulette Wheels as breast markers|
...nice. At least they're organic [?]
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- Carrie Anne Kelly
- Miss Susie