Pink Ribbons and Breast Cancer Research

Pink Ribbons and Breast Cancer Research October 3, 2014

A very important read from Margaret Feinberg (and please go to her site to read her wisdom about what to do):

The pink ribbon reminds us of the pain. The suffering. The losses. The trauma. The horror. The unspeakable.

People like to glom onto phrases like the “great improvements in treatment” and all those “medical advances.”

And there are some. Just far too few. People like that sweet momma I described are dying every day. In fact, hospitals are seeing an uptick in the cases of breast cancer among women in their teens, 20s and 30s, and no one knows why. Theories abound, but as of yet, there’s no real explanation.

But if you knew what some of us know. If you’d seen what some of us have seen. If you’d been tortured alive like some of us have been tortured, you’d wince, too.

October is breast cancer awareness month. This is the time of year our nation will glow in pink. When you can convince a 300-pound NFL player to run the field wearing pink, you’ve done more than create a movement, you’ve created a marketing miracle.

Six billion dollars, yes $6,000,000,000.00 will be raised this year in the name of breast cancer.

But how much of that is going to research? Pennies on the dollar.

An enormous amount goes to “awareness.” This is where it becomes blurry fast. Because if you’re going to remind folks to get a mammogram why not put your huge logo and pink ribbon on the billboard. This can be called “awareness” but most of us would just call it “marketing.” In addition, millions are spent to defend the trademark of the pink ribbon logo and “for a cure”.

We’re grateful for the awareness. Women and men need to get checked if they notice anything suspicious no matter what their age. Affordable testing needs to be made available. Early detection is everything.

But the dirty secret of the pink ribbon is just how little money goes to research.

The largest pink crusading company only donates .16 of every dollar to research. “Despite the fact that Komen trademarked the phrase ‘for the cure,’ only 16 percent of the $472 million raised in 2011, the most recent year for which financial reports are available, went toward research,” according to The New York Times.

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